Republicans want to defund public health initiatives designed to end the pandemic.
Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) is introducing legislation designed “to review and potentially revoke” President Biden’s vaccine-or-test mandate for private businesses, according to The Washington Post. Since Braun has the support of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), the bill will likely pass the upper chamber. It has scant chance of being ratified by the House and no chance of being signed into law by Biden.
In addition, Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS), is preparing a separate bill that would prohibit Biden’s vaccine mandate for medical professionals, reports The Post, which offers this context:
The emerging campaign mirrors in spirit the political and legal battles that GOP officials launched earlier in the pandemic, as they attacked business closures, mask mandates and other government-led measures to slow the contagion. Republicans on Capitol Hill contend that the vaccine requirements are unwarranted and unconstitutional and that they put Americans’ jobs at risk.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said the government should “double and triple down in encouraging all eligible Americans to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible.”
Schumer added, “This week, Republicans want to take us in the opposite direction, with an anti-science, anti-vaccine vote.”
Indeed, the GOP pushed the U.S. to the brink of a government shutdown by threatening to block a stopgap funding measure – via a continuing resolution – if it didn’t include a provision to kill the mandates.
“I think we should be throwing our bodies in front of the train of the continuing resolution while vaccine mandates are in place,” Rep. Chip Roy, a Texas conservative, told CNN.
Similarly, Republicans tried to end the vaccine requirement in the military during negotiations for a $768 billion defense bill, which passed Monday night. Eventually they relented in both instances.
For Republicans, they view their battle against pandemic protocols as a no-brainer. It’s an issue that revs up their base, which largely sees the mandates as an infringement upon their civil liberties. And they have also started to argue that the vaccine mandates are actually exacerbating the nation’s economic woes, which include the supply chain crisis and labor shortage, because it’s driving people away from the workforce.
But the vaccine mandates have, in fact, proven to be successful in increasing immunization rates, which is one the most effective and life-saving tools to fight the virus. And Democrats counter that the nation is far better off than if Trump were in charge, who consistently flouted health protocols, downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic and even reportedly tested positive for coronavirus three days before showing up to his first presidential debate with Biden.