Senate votes to repeal Biden's vaccine mandate
It's unclear if the Senate-passed repeal will be brought up in the House.
The Senate voted Wednesday night to repeal President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate on private businesses with over 100 employees by a vote of 52-48.
Two Democrats crossed party lines and voted with all Republicans present to repeal the mandate.
Both Democratic "yes" votes, cast by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. and Jon Tester, D-Mont., were expected.
Republicans brought up the repeal for a vote using a procedural tool called the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to overturn rules created by federal agencies and only requires 51 votes to pass the Senate.
It's unclear if the Senate-passed repeal will be brought up in the House. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not required to bring it up for a floor vote, and at least 218 signatures would be needed to force consideration. Even then, if the House were to pass it, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday that Biden would veto it should it land on his desk.
"We certainly hope the Senate, Congress will stand up to the anti-vaccine and testing crowd. We're going to continue to work to implement these," Psaki said. "If it comes to the president's desk, he will veto it."
As vaccine mandates lag in popularity nationwide, some moderate Democrats sided with Republicans, giving the bill the necessary votes to clear the Senate.
"I 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 said in a statement last week.
He's been on the record repeatedly about his opposition to mandates on private businesses, though he supports the mandate for federal employees.
Manchin released a statement following the Senate vote defending his long-held position that it is "not the place of the federal government" to mandate vaccines.
Every Republican supported the repeal, following last week's party-line vote to zero out funds for the mandate during government funding negotiations last week.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, in a press conference Tuesday, said the vote is "anti science" and "anti common sense"
"It's ridiculous, it makes no sense, and Democrats think it is the wrong way to go," Schumer said.
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