House Sends Government Funding Bill To Senate After GOP Senators Threatened Delay Over Vaccine Mandates

 On Thursday, the House of Representatives voted to pass a measure that would prolong funding for the government through February 18th, but the Senate could still pose some challenges to the legislation.

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, the measure passed with a vote of 221 to 212. The measure reportedly needs to pass the Senate quickly in order to avoid a government shutdown before the deadline on Friday.

The Journal noted, “some Republicans are pushing to amend the bill so that it bars the Biden administration from enacting rules requiring many employers to ensure that their workers are vaccinated or tested weekly for Covid-19.”

NBC News reported that the Senate will probably hold a vote on the legislation Thursday evening, according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

“It is looking good that we are going to pass the CR tonight and make sure the government stays open,” Schumer told the press on Thursday following the House vote.

Republican legislators want to be able to vote on the amendment with a simple-majority bar instead of a 60-vote requirement. It appears that their hope might be for Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), a more conservative member of the Democratic Party, to vote on their side.

“I’ve been very supportive of a mandate for the federal government, for military, for all the work on government payroll. I’ve been less enthused about, in the private sector, so we’re working through all that,” Manchin said.

Some Republicans have been against a deal if it does not include a way to push back against the Biden administration’s overreaching vaccination mandates. As the measure heads to the Senate, it remains to be seen what their next move will be.

As The Daily Wire reported on Wednesday, “Congressional Republicans are planning to use an array of legislative tools, including the threat of a government shutdown, to challenge the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates, according to a report from Politico.”

“Because the Senate is running on an incredibly small clock — funding officially expires Friday — and because Senate rules require unanimous consent to move the bill forward at an expedited pace, conservative senators believe they can drag out debate past the expiration of funding,” The Daily Wire reported on Wednesday.

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) “said on the Senate floor that if he and other Republican senators got a vote on whether to include funding for vaccine mandates in the upcoming government appropriations bill, they might not delay the government funding bill,” Reuters noted.

“All I’m asking for is a vote. It would take 15 minutes, we could do it right now,” Lee noted, adding that he and more Republican senators in favor of the move desire a simple majority on the amendment.

Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) made similar comments to CNBC on Thursday morning. “All we want is a vote,” he said, adding that he wants senators to have to “put their cards on the table” on whether they support the mandate.

On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he doesn’t believe “shutting down the government over this issue is going to get an outcome,” noting the vaccine mandate has been challenged and come up against obstacles in federal courts.

“We’re not going to shut the government down,” said McConnell. “That makes no sense for anyone. Almost no one on either side thinks that’s a good idea.”

On Thursday, President Joe Biden told the press that he spoke with Schumer and McConnell about avoiding a shutdown. He said that “there is a plan in place unless somebody decides to be totally erratic, and I don’t think that will happen.”

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