A group of GOP senators is taking a stand together and threatening to withhold support for funding the government by a shutdown deadline on Friday. They will make this move unless they get a vote to defund the remaining federal vaccine mandates in place for federal employees and contractors, the military, and healthcare workers. This is the same demand they took before the last federal deadline in December.
Senators Mike Lee of Utah, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Mike Braun of Indiana, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Ted Cruz of Texas wrote an open “Dear Colleague” letter to the rest of the Senate. They declared their intention to oppose a stopgap government funding measure if their demands are not met.
The senators wrote, “We will continue to stand against these mandates until they are discontinued in ambition, design, and practice. For that reason, we are writing to let you know that we will not consent to a time agreement that eases the passage of the Continuing Resolution (‘CR’) now before the Senate absent an agreement to allow for a roll call vote on an amendment that defunds the enforcement of these vaccine mandates for the spending period covered by the CR.”
The House recently passed a continuing resolution to fund the government at the current levels until March 11th. The Senate needs to pass it before the end of the day on Friday, or there will be a government shutdown. Both Republican and Democratic budget negotiators are trying to reach an agreement on the Fiscal Year 2022 spending bill before the March 11th deadline. This will put in place the first new spending levels under the Biden Administration.
In December, a group of Republicans put together a pressure campaign regarding vaccine mandates before the last stopgap funding measure. This GOP move resulted in a vote on an amendment from Senators Lee and Marshall to defund vaccine mandates. It failed by a 48 to 50 vote with 19 Senate Republicans voting for the stopgap funding measure.
But the Biden Administration did withdraw its vaccine-or test requirement for businesses that have more than 100 employees. This came after the Supreme Court blocked the rule.
Now, the rest of the federal vaccine mandates are being challenged in federal courts on behalf of federal employees and contractors, healthcare workers, and military members.
The senators wrote in their letter, “History will bear record of whether we chose to endure tyranny or oppose it, in this pivotal moment. We invite you to stand with us and oppose the CR until it explicitly defunds the implementation and enforcement of these mandates. At a minimum, we need to take a vote on this before funding their enforcement. The livelihoods and personal freedoms of millions of Americans are at stake.”
The senators stand in agreement that Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates are a significant abuse of both federal power and executive authority. They also believe that these mandates are putting undue pressure on the economy and society in general. The GOP team believes that the White House Administration is ignoring the present evidence-based information on natural immunity from previous COVID-19 infections. They have declared that President Joe Biden does not have any business forcing people to choose between unemployment and a vaccine that they do not want.
The senators even harkened back to Frederick Douglass who noted that “the limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” And they vowed not to abdicate their Article 1 duties in the hope that the courts will rule for the people of America.