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Joe Manchin Joins Republicans, Will Fight Against Vaccine Mandates

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, just gave President Joe Biden the shaft again.

Manchin said he will join his Republican Senate colleagues in voting against Biden’s vaccine mandates for private businesses, The Daily Mail reported.

“Let me be clear, I do not support any government vaccine mandate on private businesses,” the senator said on Twitter after voting to avoid a government shutdown. “That’s why I have cosponsored and will strongly support a bill to overturn the federal government vaccine mandate for private businesses.”

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“The Federal government should ‘incentivize, not penalize’ private businesses to get their employees inoculated. I have personally had both vaccine doses and a booster shot and I continue to urge every West Virginian to get vaccinated themselves,” he said.

The rule, implemented by Biden has drawn criticism from Republicans and several states have filed legal challenges.

If both the Senate and House approve the resolution by a simple majority or if both decide to override the president’s veto, then the rule would be invalidated.   

Republican Indiana Senator Mike Braun issued a press release of his own celebrating Sen. Manchin’s decision.

“Senator Mike Braun released the following statement last night following Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia’s announcement that he has cosponsored the disapproval resolution under the Congressional Review Act for President Biden’s vaccine mandate for private businesses. With Senator Manchin’s support and all 50 Senate Republicans who have already signed on to this challenge to the vaccine mandate for private businesses, the resolution is expected to pass the U.S. Senate. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed Thursday on America’s Newsroom that a vote on the disapproval resolution will likely come next week,” it said.

“President Biden’s unconstitutional vaccine mandate for private businesses is not a partisan issue: it jeopardizes the freedoms and livelihoods of Americans in all 50 states, and I hope that more Democratic Senators and Representatives will follow Senator Manchin’s strong lead and stand up against this federal overreach that will wreak havoc on our recovering economy and trample on the rights of millions of Americans,” the senator said.

The news comes days after Sen. Manchin hinted that he would join Republicans.

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“I’ve been very supportive of a mandate for federal government, for military … I’ve been less enthused about it in the private sector,” Manchin told The Hill.

The outlet explained:

A small group of conservative senators are pushing for a vote on their proposal to block funding for the mandate as part of the Senate’s consideration of a short-term deal to fund the government into mid-February. Democratic leadership hasn’t publicly opened the door to an amendment vote.

The Senate took a similar vote in September as part of its debate on the first short-term funding bill. Manchin voted with all Democrats against the amendment at the time.

But the threshold for the amendment to get added into the funding bill at the time was three-fifths, meaning even if Manchin or another Democrat had voted “yes,” their “no” vote wasn’t critical for Democrats.

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It may be a moot point now, however: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told Fox News Republicans would not force a government shutdown over Biden’s mandate.

He told Fox News:

Well, I think there’s good news. Multiple courts have pushed the pause button on these government vaccine mandates. There’s a decent chance the courts will strike them down.

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Secondly, next week we’re going to have a vote on the vaccine mandate, prohibiting that regulation from going into effect. I think it has a decent chance of passing the Senate. I don’t think shutting down the government over this issue is going to get an outcome.

It would only create chaos and uncertainty, so I don’t think that’s the best vehicle to get this job done. I think the courts are likely to get it done or we’ll pass [it] early next week freestanding, a measure to overturn the government mandate…

We’re not going to shut the government down. That makes no sense for anyone. Almost no one on either side thinks that’s a good idea. 

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