Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) followed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) walk on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 10, 2021. (Susan Walsh/AP Photo)

More GOP Senators Threaten to Shut Down Government Over Vaccine Mandate

By Jack Phillips
December 2, 2021 Updated: December 2, 2021

A growing number of Republican senators are saying they won’t vote to partially fund the government over the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
The federal government faces a partial government shutdown by midnight on Friday, although congressional leaders announced they would extend funding into February 2022.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) became the latest GOP senator to say Thursday that he won’t vote to support a resolution to keep the government funded for the interim.
“The only thing I want to shut down is enforcement of an immoral, unconstitutional vaccine mandate,” Lee said on the Senate floor.
And Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) echoed Lee’s sentiment, saying he would block an attempt to quickly vote in favor of a stopgap bill until he gets in an amendment to defund President Joe Biden’s controversial federal vaccine mandate for private businesses with 100 or more employees.
“Shutting down the government is worth saving the jobs in Kansas,” Marshall, a doctor, told reporters Thursday.
Another, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), signaled earlier this week that he was open to shutting the government down over the Biden administration’s vaccine rules.
He told reporters that “I think we should use the leverage we have to fight against what are illegal, unconstitutional and abusive mandates,” adding: “I have long said that I am not particularly invested in the timing of a given vote—whether it occurs a few hours earlier or a few hours later.”
Notably, in 2013, when Cruz was a freshman senator, he shut the government down for 16 days as Congress held discussions on whether to pass the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.
Due to the Senate’s rules, all 100 senators would have to agree in order to quickly pass the stopgap measure before Friday.
“The vaccine mandate is going to shut down our businesses in this country, which is going to further disrupt” the U.S. economy, Sen. Steve Daines( R-Mont.) told FOX Business on Wednesday.
Daines said that he believes it’s preferable to shut down the government “for a couple of days” rather than “shutting down businesses” if the mandate is enforced.
Some Republican senators, however, have said that they don’t believe shutting down the government for any reason is a good idea.
“I’m concerned about the mandate but I’m not going to shut down the government. And I do think some of my colleagues have concerns and I share them. We need to keep government open,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) told reporters this week. “I trust my colleagues to vote their heart. I just hope they take their brains with them.”
It comes as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that they have a deal in place to keep the government funded, while Biden told reporters Thursday that he doesn’t believe there will be a shutdown.
“Look, I don’t believe that will happen. We have everything in place to be able to make sure there is not a shutdown,” Biden said White House before adding there is a “plan in place unless somebody decides to be totally erratic, and I don’t think that will happen.”
The president added that spoke with both Schumer and McConnell on Thursday about keeping the government funded. Hours before that, the White House issued a statement calling for the “swift passage” of the stopgap bill.
House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), announced the latest plan, which funds the federal government until Feb. 18, will go to a vote as soon as Thursday. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said negotiators had reached a deal.
“I’m pleased that we have finally reached an agreement on the continuing resolution,” Shelby said in a statement.
Last month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration published a rule known as an emergency temporary standard that would mandate private businesses with 100 or more workers to either mandate vaccines or weekly testing and mask-wearing. Two days later, a federal appeals court issued an injunction against the rule before reaffirming its decision in mid-November.
The mandate, as well as mandates for federal contractors and workers, have triggered an avalanche of lawsuits from GOP-led states, private businesses, and individuals.

More GOP Senators Threaten to Shut Down Government Over Vaccine Mandate (