OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
If you were waiting for Senate Minority Leader and Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell to take a stand against the Democrats, think again.
He appeared on the Fox News show “America’s Newsroom” on Thursday and predicted that there would not be a government shutdown on the issue of funding vaccine mandates because he believes the courts will stop them, Fox News reported.
“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. Secondly, next week we’re going to have a vote on the vaccine mandate, prohibiting that regulation from going into effect,” he said.
“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,” he said.
The vaccine or test mandate for corporations with more than 100 employees is still being worked on in the courts and has not taken effect, but some Republican senators have called for a short term government funding bill until they know the mandates will not be funded.
“I think this is the fight — this is where we have the most leverage actually to accomplish stopping the mandate,” Kansas Republican Senator Roger Marshall said. “I think that folks back home want to know how hard we’re fighting for them, that the jobs back home are as important as keeping the federal government open.”
“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,” Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz said. “But I think we should use the leverage we have to fight against what are illegal, unconstitutional and abusive mandates.”
And on Wednesday the House Freedom Caucus sent a letter to Sen. McConnell asking him to do everything in his power to stop the mandates.
Today the House of Representatives will pass, over our objection, a continuing resolution to fund government without ending any of President Biden’s very damaging, unAmerican, and in the worst cases, unlawful vaccine mandates,” the caucus, headed by Rep. Scott Perry, said.
“As you know, the current government funding mechanism expires on Friday night, thus the Senate Republican conference enjoys important leverage against those mandates,” it said. “We therefore write to request that you use all procedural tools at your disposal to deny timely passage of the CR unless it prohibits funding – in all respects – for the vaccine mandates and enforcement thereof.”
Some Republican senators are for the delay and some are against, but in a Senate that is split 50 / 50 it only takes one senator to stop it.
“I think the vast majority of Republicans would not like to see a shutdown, but I don’t think that would include everyone,” South Dakota Republican Senator Mike Rounds said, The New York Times reported. “And all it takes is one person.”
“I don’t think Republicans want to be involved in shutting down the government,” Vermont Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy said. “They’ve done that before [and] it backfired.”
And Senate Majority Leader and New York Sen. Charles Schumer said he believes that Sen. McConnell will assure that Republicans allow the resolution to pass.
“If every member of this chamber used the threat of a shutdown to secure concessions on their own interests, that would lead to chaos for the millions and millions of Americans who rely on a functioning government,” he said.
“It’s up to the leaders to make sure there’s not a shutdown — I’m making sure, and I think Leader McConnell wants to try to make sure, too,” he said.