Republicans in the Senate employed a little-used legislative device to repeal Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for businesses with more than 100 employees.
The Congressional Review Act, passed in 1996, gives Congress the right to repeal rules issued by federal agencies. The CRA needs a majority of both Houses of Congress and a signature by the president to become effective.
In the case of the mandate, Democratic Senators Joe Manchin (W.V.) and Jon Tester (Mont.) joined all 50 Republicans in voting against the rule. The legislation now moves on to the House where it faces an uncertain fate. Several House Democrats have expressed reservations about the mandate but it’s unknown if there are enough Democrats in opposition to pass it.
It’s a moot point because Joe Biden will almost certainly veto any repeal legislation that hits his desk and there aren’t enough votes to override.
The resolution faces an uphill path in the House, where Republicans aren’t able to use a similar fast-track process to force a vote over the objections of Democratic leadership. Instead, Republicans are hoping to get the simple majority needed to force a vote through a discharge petition, which will require support from a handful of House Democrats.
But Republicans view Wednesday’s Senate vote as a significant win, and it’s the first time they’ve been able to use the Congressional Review Act to successfully get a resolution targeting a Biden rule through the Senate.
The discharge petition requires a super-majority of 290 House votes. It’s used when the opposition refuses to bring a bill to the floor for a vote. Republicans are not likely to find more than a handful of Democrats in the House willing to go against Biden on the mandate so the effort to repeal the rule will almost certainly die there.
So the White House — losing in the Senate, losing in the courts — has fallen back on its tried and true strategy of trying to scare the pants off the American people.
“We certainly hope the Senate, Congress, will stand up to the anti-vaccine and -testing crowd, and we’re going to continue to work to implement these. If it comes to the president’s desk, he will veto it,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.
“We’ve got a new variant, and cases are rising. President’s been clear. We’ll use every tool to protect the American people, and we hope others will join us in that effort,” she added.
The Democrats have decided to equate opposition to forced mandates with opposition to getting vaccinated. No doubt there are some people opposing the mandate who are dubious about getting jabbed. But many people opposing the mandate oppose it because it smacks of tyranny to force anyone to put anything in their body against their will.
Tell that to Chuck Schumer:
Many Democrats, meanwhile, blasted the vote as irresponsible, especially because the Biden administration’s rules open the door for employers to administer tests on a weekly basis for those who do not want a vaccine. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) at one point Wednesday even likened the motivations behind the repeal effort to those who insist the Earth is flat.
“I know wild stories on the Internet, lies sometimes get in people’s heads, but we can’t listen to lies,” Schumer said on the chamber floor in the hours before the vote. “We’re a fact-based society. We always have been.”
There’s plenty of misinformation circulating on the internet on both sides of this issue. But Democrats are allergic to letting people think and act for themselves. That’s what this debate is really all about: Do you trust the people to make rational, thoughtful decisions for themselves and their families, or don’t you?