More than 40 Republican senators are looking to overturn President Biden’s workplace vaccine mandate through the Congressional Review Act, calling the rule “unacceptable.” The 41 Republicans, led by Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), are looking to nullify the order issued by Biden earlier this fall that mandated that people who worked for businesses with 100 employees or more get vaccinated for COVID-19 or face weekly testing. Federal employees were not given the testing option.
The mandate is set to be enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is expected to release a formal rule soon.
The Republican senators’ move was first reported by Fox News and does not have full support from the right side of the aisle as nine of the senators are waiting for OSHA to release the formal rule. However, there is no Republican opposition to disapproval of the mandate, a Republican aide told the outlet.
“Now, when we’re finally at kind of an equilibrium, you’re putting an ultimatum on them,” said Braun, the top Republican on the Senate Subcommittee for Employment and Workplace Safety. “Either get the vaccine or lose your job.”
“This rule is a vast overstep of authority by the federal government of what should be a personal medical decision for every American,” he said in a separate statement. Braun, along with several others GOP senators as a part of the move, formally announced their disapproval of the mandate in a press conference Wednesday morning.
So far, Sens. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Tom Cotton and John Boozman of Arkansas, Rick Scott and Marco Rubio of Florida, James Risch and Mike Crapo of Idaho, Todd Young of Indiana, Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Roger Marshall and Jerry Moran of Kansas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Cindy Hyde-Smith and Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Steve Daines of Montana, Ben Sasse and Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, James Lankford and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John Thune and Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Bill Hagerty and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, and Cynthia Lummis and John Barrasso of Wyoming have joined with Braun.
After OSHA releases the formal rule ordering the workplace mandate to the Federal Registry, it will be sent to the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will have 20 days to review the order.
Following that, the Republican senators’ disapproval can be eligible for a Senate floor vote. Braun will be responsible for scheduling the vote, which is expected to happen in December, Fox News reported.
The Republicans’ disapproval is allowed through the Congressional Review Act, which permits Congress to overturn specific regulations and actions put in place by federal agencies.
Several senators have separately slammed the mandate, with Hawley calling it “an unconstitutional infringement on the fundamental rights of American citizens.” “More than that, it unlawfully bypasses established regulatory procedures,” he said to Fox News. “Congress, not the president, has the authority to make law. He is ignoring this basic principle by forcing employers to require their workers be vaccinated, undergo rigorous testing procedures, or be fired.” “It’s wrong, will make our nation’s economic challenges worse, and must not be allowed to go into effect,” he added.
Lee accused Biden of ruling “by decree.” “President Biden’s mandate is the most egregious incursion on the medical rights of Americans in our nation’s history, and it clearly exceeds the president’s power,” he said.