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Tags: Biden Administration | Coronavirus | Vaccines | conservatives | vaccine mandate | shutdown | funding

Conservatives Eye Government Shutdown to Stop Vaccine Mandate Funding

mike lee speaks in hearing
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee business meeting on Oct. 15, 2020, in Washington, D.C. (Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 01 December 2021 07:55 AM

Senate conservatives are reportedly considering a forced government shutdown this Friday in hopes of defunding the Biden administration's private sector vaccine mandate, with House conservatives planning measures to support the effort, according to several Republican sources. 

The Senate conservatives plan to object to the quick consideration of a plan to extend funding until early next year if Democrat leaders don't agree to refuse the funding needed for the mandate, the sources told Politico's Playbook.  

The senators think they'll be able to delay the process until past midnight Friday when the funding for the mandate would officially expire. 

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, told Politico in a statement that while he's sure the senators would all like to "simplify the process" to resolve the continuing resolution, he "can't facilitate that without addressing the vaccine mandates."

"Given that federal courts across the country have raised serious issues with these mandates, it’s not unreasonable for my Democratic colleagues to delay enforcement of the mandates for at least the length of the continuing resolution," Lee added. 

It was not made clear how many of the Senate's conservatives are willing to follow through on the threat to shut down the government, but in early November, 15 conservatives signed a letter, led by Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., to "use all means at our disposal" to block the passage of any continuing resolution that doesn't stop the vaccine mandate. 

Because of Senate rules requiring unanimous consent to move the resolution through quickly, only one senator is needed to object to go past the Friday midnight deadline. 

Meanwhile, the House Freedom Caucus voted Tuesday night to pressure Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to take a more hard-line stance on the continuing resolution unless Democrats pull the funding to enforce the vaccine mandate, according to sources familiar with the matter. 

"There is leverage immediately in the Senate, and we think that House Republicans ought to be backing up any number of Senate Republicans … to use all procedural tools to deny the continuing resolution passage Friday night unless they restrict the use of those funds for vaccine mandates," Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, told Politico. 

Meanwhile, even if a bipartisan agreement is reached by the end of the day Wednesday to extend the funding, a shutdown could still occur, reports Politico. The Senate needs at least five days to process the continuing resolution, meaning that a shutdown could take place and end Sunday. If a deal isn't reached Wednesday, the shutdown could go on into next week. 

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday was already blaming Republicans in the event a shutdown takes place, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that "nobody should be concerned about a government shutdown."

If McConnell manages to convince Senate conservatives to back away from the shutdown plans, the mandate fight is continuing, with Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., planning to force a vote to stop the mandate through the Congressional Review Act. All 50 Republicans are lined up to back Braun's plan, and the group hopes to flip at least one moderate Democrat. 

Roy is also pushing House GOP leaders to use the National Defense Authorization Act to block the mandate. More than 30 House Democrats opposed the chamber’s first vote on the NDAA, and the party will need Republicans' help to clear the defense act. However, House Republicans could refuse unless the vaccine mandates are killed, he said. 

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Politics
Senate conservatives are reportedly considering a forced government shutdown this Friday in hopes of defunding the Biden administration's private sector vaccine mandate, with House conservatives planning measures to support the effort ...
conservatives, vaccine mandate, shutdown, funding
566
2021-55-01
Wednesday, 01 December 2021 07:55 AM
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