Schumer warns of 'Republican anti-vaccine shutdown'

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerKelly takes under-the-radar approach in Arizona Senate race Hundreds attend mass funeral for victims of Bronx apartment building fire Romney: I never got a call from White House to discuss voting rights MORE (D-N.Y.) on Thursday warned that Congress is facing a “Republican anti-vaccine shutdown” because “a few lone holdouts” are raising objections to a deal to fund the government until Feb. 18.

Schumer announced on the Senate floor the “good news” that he had reached an agreement with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnell​​Democrats make voting rights push ahead of Senate consideration Hogan won't say if he will file to run for Senate by Feb. 22 deadline Voting rights, Trump's Big Lie, and Republicans' problem with minorities MORE (R-Ky.), Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi suggests filibuster supporters 'dishonor' MLK's legacy on voting rights The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat GOP senator knocks Biden for 'spreading things that are untrue' in voting rights speech MORE (D-Calif.) and other key players on a short-term funding measure.

But he warned a shutdown is still possible because of disgruntled conservatives.


“Unfortunately, it seems Republican dysfunction could be a roadblock to averting an unnecessary and dangerous government shutdown,” he said. “Democrats and most Republicans, including the Republican leader, have said they don’t want to see a Republican shutdown. We hope cooler heads will prevail.”

House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauroRosa DeLauroNegotiators report progress toward 2022 spending deal Republicans must join us to give Capitol Police funding certainty  Democrats return with lengthy to-do list MORE (D-Conn.) and Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyNegotiators report progress toward 2022 spending deal Johnson, Thune signal GOP's rising confidence Alabama GOP gears up for fierce Senate primary clash MORE (Ala.), the senior Republican on the Senate Appropriations panel, signed off on the deal, but a small group of Senate conservatives are threatening to stall the measure unless they get a vote on an amendment to defund President BidenJoe BidenMacro grid will keep the lights on Pelosi suggests filibuster supporters 'dishonor' MLK's legacy on voting rights Sanders calls out Manchin, Sinema ahead of filibuster showdown MORE’s vaccine mandate for large employers.

Sen. Roger MarshallRoger W. MarshallThe Hill's Morning Report: Biden takes it on the chin GOP senator plans to introduce FAUCI Act after clash at hearing Scientists, medical professionals defend Fauci after heated exchanges with Republicans MORE (R-Kan.), one of the conservatives threatening to slow-walk the funding measure, said he wants the amendment to be set at a simple-majority threshold so that it has a chance of passing in case Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinPelosi suggests filibuster supporters 'dishonor' MLK's legacy on voting rights Sanders calls out Manchin, Sinema ahead of filibuster showdown Martin Luther King III: Biden, senators need to use same energy to pass voting rights as they did for infrastructure MORE (D-W.Va.) or another Democrat votes for it.

“I think it would have to be 50,” Marshall told reporters after a Senate Republican lunch on Wednesday.

“Is Sen. Schumer willing to shut down the economy over this?” he asked, referring to the vaccine mandate.


Such amendments are often subject to 60-vote majorities, as Senate rules require 60 votes for clearing procedural hurdles. 

Marshall told reporters Thursday morning that “shutting down the government is worth saving the jobs in Kansas.”

Schumer, however, showed little sign of giving in to what he called “a few lone holdouts.”

“All that’s left are a few lone holdouts raising objections that are doomed to fail and which can be debated elsewhere. There’s no reason we should have a Republican shutdown. I have worked with the Republican leader on an agreement that will avoid one,” he said.

Pelosi on Thursday dismissed the demands of Republican conservatives to add language to defund the vaccine mandate to the continuing resolution.


“It is yet again a double sense of irresponsibility. First of all they’d shut down government and then they’d shut down science,” she said.

McConnell, meanwhile, predicted on Thursday morning that a shutdown would be avoided.

The GOP leader told Fox News that insisting that language to defund Biden’s vaccine mandate be part of a short-term government funding measure threatened to “create chaos and uncertainty.”

“I don’t think shutting down the government over this issue is going to get an outcome. It would only create chaos and uncertainty, so I don’t think that’s the best vehicle to get this job done,” he said.

Jordain Carney contributed to this report, which was updated at 12:03 p.m.