White House: Biden would veto GOP resolution to nix vaccine mandate

President Biden would veto a Republican resolution to nix the vaccine-or-test mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees if it made it to his desk, the White House said on Tuesday.

Republican senators are poised to force a vote this week to nix the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s rule after they failed to block funding for the mandate last week in the government funding bill. 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the White House is hopeful that the Senate will push back on the “anti-vaccine and -testing crowd” and confirmed Biden’s intention to veto the resolution.

“We certainly hope the Senate, Congress, will stand up to the anti-vaccine and -testing crowd, and we’re going to continue to work to implement these. If it comes to the president’s desk, he will veto it,” she told reporters. “We’ve got a new variant and cases are rising. President’s been clear. We’ll use every tool to protect the American people, and we hope others will join us in that effort.”  

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Jon Tester (Mont.) have said they would back a vote against the mandate, a challenge that is supported by all 50 Republican senators. The support from Manchin and Tester gives Senate Republicans enough votes to pass the resolution, but it would still need to pass the Democratic-controlled House before making it to Biden’s desk. 

Democrats in the House are not expected to bring the measure to the floor, but GOP supporters could use a discharge petition to try to force a vote. That would involve winning the support for the measure from a majority of House members.

Psaki said Biden has a “great relationship” with Tester and Manchin when asked about their support. 

“I think our view and the view of many Americans is that if people aren’t vaccinated, having them test once a week is quite reasonable as we’re thinking about how to protect our workplaces, how to protect stores and retail locations as people are out shopping for Christmas and the holidays, how to protect our children in schools and public places,” Psaki said.

She reiterated that the White House is confident in its ability to implement the rule. Biden’s vaccine rule for private businesses has been tied up in court challenges from Republican officials along with the rules for health care workers and federal contractors.

Republican senators introduced the resolution earlier this year under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to roll back the mandate, which orders businesses with at least 100 employees to require their workers to get vaccinated or undergo regular testing by Jan. 4., and Republicans can use the CRA to force a simple majority vote on it in the Senate. 

Tags Jen Psaki Joe Biden Joe Manchin Jon Tester

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