Republican senators are moving to formally strike down President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate on private businesses, it was reported Wednesday.
A total of 41 GOP senators have joined to try and terminate the mandate under the Congressional Review Act, which defines the official process by which lawmakers can eliminate an executive branch rule, Fox News reported.
The group of Republican senators will introduce its disapproval of the mandate during a Wednesday morning press conference, Fox News said. Although nine senators haven’t signed on yet, a GOP aide told Fox News there was no Republican opposition to the formal objection.
Biden's mandate requires private companies with 100 or more workers to demand COVID-19 vaccines or regular testing for employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is expected to release the exact order soon.
Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., is leading the effort in which Republicans say Biden’s mandate is "unacceptable" and "warrants review by Congress," Fox News said. Braun, ranking member on the Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety, blasted the Biden administration for "heavy-handed government." The first-term senator, whose subcommittee has jurisdiction over OSHA, said companies have taken COVID-19 "seriously from the beginning to keep employees and customers safe."
"Now, when we’re finally at kind of an equilibrium, you’re putting an ultimatum on them. Either get the vaccine or lose your job," Braun told Fox News before adding that the mandate would be "the single biggest disruptor in one fell swoop" to the business world.
Fox News said nine Republican senators were awaiting the formal filing of the OSHA rule to register their disapproval of the mandate. Those senators included Sens. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; Richard Shelby, R-Ala.; Susan Collins, R-Maine; Roy Blunt, R-Mo.; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; Mitt Romney, R-Utah; Bill Cassidy, R-La.; Tim Scott, R-S.C; and Rob Portman, R-Ohio.
The Congressional Review Act (CRA) was included as part of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act, which was signed into law on March 29, 1996. It is an oversight tool that Congress may use to overturn rules issued by federal agencies.
A CRA joint resolution must be approved by both houses of Congress and signed by the president, or Congress must override a presidential veto to invalidate the rule/order at issue.
A 20-day period for review will begin once OSHA publishes the formal mandate into the Federal Register. The CRA resolution then gets transmitted to the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee then will review the resolution before the formal disapproval becomes eligible for a vote on the Senate floor. At the very least, the vote would put all senators' stances on the issue on the record. Passage by a simple majority could send the CRA resolution to the president’s desk. "It will make them decide, 'Am I going to follow a crazy mandate? Or am I going to save my political career?'" Braun told Fox News.