GOP senators move to ‘strike down’ Biden’s workplace vax mandate

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GOP senators move to ‘strike down’ Biden’s workplace vax mandate

More than 40 Republican senators are looking to overturn President Biden’s workplace vaccine mandate through the Congressional Review Act, calling the rule “unacceptable.” 

The 41 Republicans, led by Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), are looking to nullify the order issued by Biden earlier this fall that mandated businesses with 100 employees or more get vaccinated for COVID-19 or face weekly testing. Federal employees were not given the testing option.

The mandate is set to be enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is expected to release a formal rule soon. 

The Republican senators’ move was first reported by Fox News and does not have full support from the right side of the aisle as nine of the senators are waiting for OSHA to release the formal rule. However, there is no Republican opposition to disapproval of the mandate, a Republican aide told the outlet. 

“Now, when we’re finally at kind of an equilibrium, you’re putting an ultimatum on them,” Braun, the top Republican on the Senate Subcommittee for Employment and Workplace Safety said. “Either get the vaccine or lose your job.” 

Woman holds protest sign at a protest by healthcare workers against a vaccine mandate at Stony Brook University Hospital in Stony Brook, New York.
Vaccine mandates have been a hot topic across the country since the rollout of vaccinations, sparking protests nationwide.
Newsday via Getty Images

“This rule is a vast overstep of authority by the federal government of what should be a personal medical decision for every American,” he said in a separate statement.

Braun, along with several others GOP Sens. a part of the move, formally announced their disapproval of the mandate in a press conference Wednesday morning. 

Sen. Mike Braun speaking during Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee confirmation hearing.
Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana is leading 41 Republican senators on Wednesday to oppose Biden’s rule.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

So far, Sens. Dan Sullivan, Bill Hagerty, Roger Marshall, Mike Lee, James Lankford, Rick Scott, Marsha Blackburn, Rand Paul, Cynthia Lummis, Shelley Moore Capito, Marco Rubio, John Barrasso, Cindy Hyde-Smith, John Thune, Jerry Moran, Roger Wicker, Richard Burr, Mike Rounds, John Hoeven, Pat Toomey, Tommy Tuberville, James Risch, Mike Crapo, Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, Joni Ernst, Kevin Cramer, Josh Hawley, John Boozman, Jim Inhofe, Chuck Grassley, Todd Young, John Kennedy, Ron Johnson, Ben Sasse, Steve Daines, Deb Fischer, Lindsey Graham, Thom Tillis and John Cornyn have joined with Braun.

After OSHA releases the formal rule ordering the workplace mandate to the Federal Registry, it will be sent to the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will then have 20 days to review the order.

Following that, the Republican Senators’ disapproval can be eligible for a Senate floor vote. Braun will be responsible for scheduling the vote, which is expected to happen in December, Fox News reported. 

Person holds protest sign saying "No mandates" during a health care workers protest.
OSHA is expected to release a formal rule soon on vaccine mandates for workplaces.
Newsday via Getty Images

The Republican’s disapproval is allowed through the Congressional Review Act, which permits Congress to overturn specific regulations and actions put in place by federal agencies. 

Several Senators have separately slammed the mandate, with Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), calling it “an unconstitutional infringement on the fundamental rights of American citizens.”

“More than that, it unlawfully bypasses established regulatory procedures,” he said to Fox News. “Congress, not the president, has the authority to make law. He is ignoring this basic principle by forcing employers to require their workers be vaccinated, undergo rigorous testing procedures, or be fired.”

President Biden speaks at podium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in D.C.
President Biden’s workplace vaccine mandate has sparked outrage among Republican Senators.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

“It’s wrong, will make our nation’s economic challenges worse, and must not be allowed to go into effect,” he added. 

Sen. Mike Lee accused Biden of ruling “by decree.” 

“President Biden’s mandate is the most egregious incursion on the medical rights of Americans in our nation’s history, and it clearly exceeds the president’s power,” he said.

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