A small group of conservative legislators across both chambers of Congress, the House and the Senate, are reportedly “privately plotting” a potential government shutdown. The purpose of the shutdown is to attempt to pressure Democrats into defunding the Biden administration’s imposed vaccine mandates on private employers, per reports from Politico.
Politico referenced multiple anonymous sources from the Republicans’ camp to support its assertions, noting that the lawmakers are fully in favor of stalling approval of continuing resolutions to fund the government into early 2022. Stalled approval will ostensibly continue until the Democrats agree to defunding enforcement of the mandate.
On Friday, Congress is expected to consider the resolution, which presently includes funds for supporting the enforcement of the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate. However, it the process of consideration stretches on beyond midnight, then the funding will face an official expiration.
President Joe Biden abruptly announced an enormous vaccine mandate in September, demanding for all companies with more than 100 employees to institute COVID vaccine requirements. This mandate was anticipated to impact over 80 million Americans.
Shortly after the announcement of the COVID vaccine mandate, however, backlash was prompt and fierce, with over half of the states in the nation filing lawsuits to challenge the order in court. In the past month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) ended up suspending the mandate for private companies after a federal court ruled against the legal viability of the Biden administration’s mandate.
Multiple Republicans in Congress have loudly declared that the vaccine mandate represents an egregious overreach from the Biden administration, and several of these individuals appear poised and ready to back up their declarations with substantive action. On the Senate front, the votes are evenly split, 50-50, between Democrats and Republicans, which means that Republicans need a grand total of one objector to miss Friday’s upcoming deadline.
Many Republicans in Congress have publicly decried the mandate as a massive overreach by the administration, and now it appears that at least some are willing to back their words up with action. Given the current 50-50 split in the Senate, Republicans would technically only need one objector to push past Friday’s deadline.
According to Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), Republicans “would all like to simplify the process for resolving the [continuing resolution],” adding that it is “not unreasonable” for Democrats to consider “[delaying] enforcement of the mandates for at least the length of the continuing resolution.”
Politico notes that it is unclear exactly how many GOP senators may follow through with their threats to shut down the government. Nonetheless, the news outlet observes that fifteen different senators have signed a letter spearheaded by Senator Roger Marshall (R-KS), which proclaimed that Republicans would “use all means at [their] disposal” to stymie the implementation of the mandate.
However, GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has downplayed threats of a governmental shutdown, claiming that “nobody should be concerned.”