A heated debate is taking place on Capitol Hill over the president's broad vaccine mandates targeting the private sector.
The legislative battle is escalating even as legal victories against the Biden administration are piling up. Since early November, federal judges have halted vaccine mandates for:
- Private businesses with 100 or more employees;
- Health care workers; and
- Government contractors.
The latest ruling came on Tuesday when a federal judge in Georgia said the Biden administration is overstepping its constitutional powers with vaccine mandates for federal contractors.
Now, a group of at least 40 senators plans to vote for a resolution against Biden's mandate for private employees, hopeful to stop it indefinitely before January 4th.
The resolution is being led by Indiana GOP Sen. Mike Braun. It will use the Congressional Review Act to challenge the Labor Department's OSHA mandate.
"Economic shutdown – that's what's going to happen if this federal vaccine mandate enforced by OSHA goes forward," Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS) said.
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) said, "I was part of the Pfizer trial, I'm pro-science – pro-vaccine – but I'm anti-mandate."
If OSHA's ruling is rejected by lawmakers, not only would it be nullified, the agency would be prevented from reissuing a similar mandate in the future, unless authorized by Congress. To rescind the OSHA rule, the vote needs a simple majority, and at least two Senate Democrats have signaled their support. But even if it passes the House and Senate, the president will need to approve, and he would veto it rather than condemn himself.
Meanwhile, Americans are lining up in record numbers for boosters. The government says Omicron is spurring a million people per day to get a third shot. It's the highest rate since some adults were given the green light in September.
Pfizer says two doses of the COVID vaccine are not enough to fight off Omicron, now recommending everyone get a booster shot.