Democratic Senator Joe Manchin has said he intends to cross the aisle and join his Republican counterparts in a challenge to President Biden’s vaccine mandate for private businesses.
A vote is expected next week in the Senate on a ‘resolution of disapproval’ of the Biden administration’s rule that requires businesses with at least 100 employees to see that workers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or enforce weekly testing take place.
‘Let me be clear, I do not support any government vaccine mandate on private businesses,’ Manchin began. ‘That’s why I have cosponsored and will strongly support a bill to overturn the federal government vaccine mandate for private businesses,’ he said in a statement.
‘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 added.
The rule, implemented by Biden has drawn criticism from Repulicans 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.
‘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,’ Republican Indiana Senator Mike Braun said in a statement on Friday.
‘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,’ he added.
Braun noted that he is approaching other Democratic senators in the hope they might lend support to the bill.
Manchin’s support of the ‘disapproval’ of the bill will provide enough votes for the resolution to pass in the Senate.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki explained the administration was firmly at odds with that of Manchin’s.
‘We simply disagree,’ she said. ‘We disagree based on what we feel is a preponderance of evidence of the effectiveness of requirements — vaccinating or testing,’ Psaki added.
‘The federal government have implemented requirements and we have seen 96.5 percent compliance, something we’re going to continue to build on and these com…