Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is a crucial vote for the parts of Joe Biden’s agenda that have no Republican support in the Senate. As such, he has announced that he intends to join with the Republicans in their effort to smash the White House’s vaccine mandate rule for private businesses.
Manchin issued a statement Thursday saying he opposes the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule demanded by Biden that would compel private businesses employing 100 or more workers to require proof of vaccinations or impose strict testing of employees.
Manchin’s statement came after he voted in favor of the compromise measure to avoid a federal government shutdown with a temporary funding bill. He said he would not vote to shut down the government “During the COVID-19 pandemic and as the new Omicron variant emerges.”
As part of his statement, he wanted to clarify that he does not support the vaccine mandate on private businesses, adding that he would “strongly support a bill” to overturn Biden’s mandate. He went on to say that he believes the government should “incentivize, not penalize, private employers” who are responsible for protecting their workers.
Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) said Friday that he hopes more Democratic senators will join Manchin in fighting against the executive mandate. He said he is in direct talks with several Democrats he is trying to bring on board with the effort. All 50 Republican senators have already signed the resolution to combat the mandate.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said in an appearance on Fox News that the resolution “has a decent chance” and said it is good news that several courts have issued restraining orders temporarily stopping enforcement of the mandate.
The resolution is expected to be debated on the Senate floor this week. If approved there, it will be sent to the House, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to push for a vote against it. If it were to be passed by both sides of Congress, Joe Biden would be sure to veto it. However, the effort could prove strong evidence in the mandate’s unpopularity and poor legal opinion in the courts.