Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is doing it again.
Manchin indicated last week via Twitter that he will vote with Senate Republicans to pass a bill that would repeal President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates for employers.
“But, let me be clear,” Manchin said in a statement that he released, “I do not support any government vaccine mandate on private businesses. That’s why I have cosponsored and will strongly support a bill to overturn the federal government vaccine mandate for private businesses.”
“I have long said we should incentivize, not penalize, private employers whose responsibility it is to protect their employees from COVID-19,” Manchin added.
Manchin was referencing the vaccine mandate that Biden announced in September, as Fox News reported, which requires employers with more than 100 employees to force their workers to either undergo frequent COVID-19 testing or to get vaccinated.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the agency tasked with enforcing Biden’s mandate, announced a rule that requires such employers to comply by early January or else face heavy fines. However, it is now looking as though the mandate may never have the chance to take effect.
The mandate, as soon as it was announced, was challenged in court by numerous Republican attorneys general, and the Republicans have been winning, at least on preliminary motions. In early November, the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals granted a stay preventing the vaccine mandate from going into effect.
Biden and his administration, nonetheless, have been encouraging employers to abide by the mandate anyway.
Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), are mounting their own attempt to stop Biden’s vaccine mandate. In fact, they’re trying to overturn the mandate using the Congressional Review Act. It is this effort that Manchin is now supporting.
With Manchin’s vote, it appears likely that the effort will make it through the upper chamber. Whether it will make it through the House, however, is another question. No House Democrat has indicated that he or she will vote for it, but it is plausible that this could change when the bill finally makes it to the House, given the vulnerability of some House Democrats in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections.
Even if the bill does make it through Congress, though, the problem is that Biden would almost certainly veto it. And, it is unlike that the veto would be overturned by Congress.
Still, it’s good to see some momentum being built against these big-government mandates, even if it’s only largely symbolic in nature right now.