U.S. Senate Republicans Threaten Government Shutdown Over COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

A group of United States Senate Republicans is threatening to delay a spending bill needed to prevent a government shutdown on Dec. 3 unless it also bans funding for the COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

In a letter on Dec. 1, the House Freedom Caucus is urging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to “use all your procedural tools at your disposal to deny timely passage” of a short-term government funding bill “unless it prohibits funding — in all respects — for the vaccine mandates and enforcement thereof.”

The Republicans also wrote that they have “important leverage against those mandates.”

Failure to pass a stopgap measure means the government would enter a brief shutdown.

The group of 11 Republicans who signed the letter described the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates as “very damaging, unAmerican, and in the worst cases, unlawful.”

The mandate requires health workers in hospitals and nursing homes nationwide to get at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 6 and to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4.

The mandate also requires employers with 100 or more employees to have their employees either fully vaccinated or undergo weekly testing.

The latest Republican move mirrors the letter spearheaded by Senator Roger Marshall and signed by 10 other Republican senators in early November that said that they “will not support — and will use all means at our disposal to oppose — legislation that funds or in any way enables the enforcement” of the vaccine mandate.

However, McConnell made it clear on Nov. 30 that he does not want a shutdown.

“We won’t shut down,” McConnell told reporters.

“I think we’ll get there, and certainly nobody should be concerned about a government shutdown,” McConnell added.

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