U.S. Senate Overturns Vaccine Mandate

Led by Indiana Republican Sen. Mike Braun, and it needed just a simple majority of 51 votes to be approved by the chamber, Senate votes to overturn Biden vaccine mandate for businesses. Chances of becoming law is uncertain since its likelihood of getting a vote in the House are uncertain and Biden is certain to veto it. The effort demonstrates the bipartisan opposition in Congress to the federal government’s vaccine mandate for large employers.

Republicans used a law called the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to overturn federal regulations and requires just a simple majority vote in both the Senate and the House.

“Getting vaccinated should be a decision between an individual and his or her doctor. It shouldn’t be up to any politician, especially in a mandate coming down from that highest authority, the president,” Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., who led the effort to overturn the requirement said during the Senate debate. Braun, who said he was pro-vaccine and is vaccinated, called the Biden administration’s requirement “the heavy hand of government” and “overreach.” He said his phone had been ringing off the hook with calls from constituents opposed to the mandate.

“It’s got Main Street America scared,” he said.

Although a majority of Americans support private companies requiring their workers to get vaccinated there’s orders like last month, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ordered the administration to halt the mandate that employers with 100 or more employees require vaccinations or frequent testing, saying it raises “serious constitutional concerns.”And a district court judge in Georgia Tuesday blocked the administration from requiring that all federal contractors be vaccinated by Jan. 4. An earlier court ruling blocked the administration from requiring that health care workers be vaccinated.

The vote underscores resistance to the Biden policy even among Democrats who represent red states. It reflects the White House’s struggle to increase U.S. vaccinations and booster shots as the highly mutated omicron variant, which has shown the potential to evade protection offered by a two-dose vaccine regimen, starts to gain a foothold around the country.

The White House Office of Management and Budget said on Tuesday that it will strongly encourage Biden to veto the Senate legislation if it passes. “At a time when COVID is on the rise, a new variant is on the loose, and more Americans are choosing to be vaccinated, it makes no sense for Congress to reverse this much-needed protection of our workforce,” OMB said in a statement.