The Senate passed a resolution Wednesday to repeal President Joe Biden’s vaccination-or-testing mandate for private sector employers in a bipartisan rebuke of a key component of the White House’s Covid-19 strategy.
The measure, which needed only a simple majority to advance, passed in a 52-48 vote.
It was supported by every Republican and two moderate Democrats: Sen. Jon Tester of Montana and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
“I’m not crazy about mandates,” Tester told NBC News before the vote, later calling the federal requirements “burdensome regulations.”
Senate Republicans argue that while they consider vaccines important, they believe the mandate is “unconstitutional.”
“I want to go off script for a second and emphasize how important the vaccine is, especially booster shots for the omicron variant,” Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., told reporters Wednesday, shortly before the vote. “But the mandate is going to backfire. The people that have thus far have not gotten, have not received the vaccine are not going to do it until this White House acknowledges natural immunity.”
The resolution faces an uphill battle in the Democratic-controlled House. Republican lawmakers would need a solid number of Democrats to join them in forcing a vote on the measure.
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