Healthcare

Senate GOP introduces resolution to nix Biden health worker vaccine mandate

Senate Republicans have introduced a formal resolution of disapproval intending to nullify President Biden’s vaccine mandate for health care workers.

The resolution, led by GOP Sens. Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.) and Roger Marshall (Kan.), comes after Republicans earlier this month were successful in passing a similar one against the administration’s vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers.

Senators voted 52-48 on that resolution, which needed a simple majority to be approved. Democratic Sens. Jon Tester (Mont.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) voted with Republicans.

So far, there are more than 30 GOP co-sponsors of the new resolution.

The Congressional Review Act, which was enacted in 1996, sets up a fast-track process in the Senate that allows the minority party to force a vote on a resolution to disapprove of a federal rule. That law, however, does not have a fast-track process for the House.

Instead, Republicans are hoping to get the simple majority needed to force a vote through a discharge petition, which will require support from a handful of House Democrats. 

Even if the resolution passes the House, Biden will veto it. 

The mandate was rolled out by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which sought to require the COVID-19 vaccine for health care workers at providers that participate in Medicare and Medicaid.

The announcement comes as the U.S. breaks daily records for COVID-19 cases, though recent infections associated with the omicron variant have so far been milder than previous iterations of the virus for people who are vaccinated.

“Tennessee’s healthcare workers should not be fired from showing up to work and providing lifesaving care. This resolution will stop the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from firing the nurses, doctors, and medical professionals that care for the elderly, poor, and most vulnerable,” Blackburn said in a statement.

Lower courts have split over the health worker requirement and the large employer vaccine-or-test requirement, and the Supreme Court has scheduled an expedited hearing on both for Jan. 7.

Tags Congressional Review Act Coronavirus coronavirus pandemic coronavirus vaccine mandate COVID-19 COVID-19 vaccines Joe Biden Joe Manchin Jon Tester Marsha Blackburn Roger Marshall vaccine requirement
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