One of the key swing votes in the Senate is non-committal to President Joe Biden's vaccine mandates on private businesses as they are planned to be leveraged against a potential government shutdown.
Moderate Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., might be amenable to joining the GOP-led effort to defund the OSHA vaccine mandate as Congress approaches Friday's continuing resolution deadline to fund the government.
"I've been very supportive of a mandate for federal government, for military," Manchin told The Hill on Thursday, "I've been less enthused about it in the private sector."
Manchin is still "working" on reviewing the GOP amendment to block funding tied to Biden's mandate that businesses with 100 workers or more require that workers prove they are vaccinated or submit to weekly testing.
A small group of conservative senators have proposed an amendment to another continuing resolution that would keep the government running and funded into mid-February. Democrats have yet to suggest they will even permit the amendment to come to a vote.
A similar proposed amendment was voted on in September, and Manchin voted with the Democrats against that one, but that vote required only a three-fifths threshold so Manchin's vote wasn't critical for Demoocrats then.
This amendment effort is going to be held at a simple majority, meaning it will take just all 50 Republicans and a Manchin vote to continue funding the government, provided Biden's vaccine mandate is not funded with the next continuing resolution.
The plan for a simple majority amendment vote is "on the table right now," Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., told The Hill, noting Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, would lead the effort.
"Sen. Lee, Sen. Cruz, and myself will be talking with leadership and seeing what that amendment opportunity looks like," Marshall told The Hill.
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