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Ahead of February's upcoming government shutdown deadline, a group of House Republicans have declared their opposition to any bill to fund the government that also funds the Biden administration's vaccine mandates.
In a letter to GOP leadership first reported by Fox News, more than a dozen House lawmakers said they will not "vote to fund a federal government that is enforcing tyrannical COVID-19 vaccine mandates on the American people."
The Biden administration has enacted five federal vaccine mandates, four of which are currently in effect. President Joe Biden's recent order that businesses with more than 100 employees have their workers vaccinated or regularly tested was struck down by the Supreme Court, which ruled the Occupational Health and Safety Administration lacked the authority to impose such standards. Vaccine mandates for medical workers, the armed forces, federal employees, and federal contractors remain in effect.
The Republicans, led by Rep. Chip Roy (Texas), said Congress should not place its faith in the judiciary to strike down the rest of Biden's vaccine mandates. Writing to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), they advocated for unified Republican opposition to funding the executive branch agencies that enforce these mandates.
"Congressional Republicans cannot continue to abdicate their Article I duties in hopes the judicial branch will rule in favor of the American people," the letter stated.
"Therefore, we the undersigned refuse to consider supporting any federal government funding vehicle, be it a continuing resolution or omnibus appropriations measure, that funds the enforcement of COVID-19 vaccine mandates at any level of government."
Conservatives in the House made similar demands of GOP leaders last December ahead of a vote to fund the government through Feb. 18. Senate Republicans ultimately rejected the strategy of shutting down the government to put pressure on Democrats in the hope of reaching a compromise.
Instead, the Senate voted on an amendment to defund the federal vaccine mandate, which failed. Nineteen Republicans went on to vote for a continuing resolution that kept the government open, averting a shutdown.
Now, Roy and the other Republican signatories of the letter want to pressure at least 10 of those Senate Republicans to filibuster the next attempt to fund the government before the Feb. 18 deadline, denying Democrats the necessary 60 votes to keep the government open.
“Most Republicans say that vax mandates are tyrannical and foolish, but will they unite before government funding expires on February 18th to pledge not to fund enforcement of these mandates?" Roy asked in a statement.
"Will at least 10 of the 19 GOP Senators who voted to punt last time now stand up for healthcare workers or not?" he continued. "We're going to find out."
It\u2019s time to fight back - and start with local & state government pushing back & refuse to comply with unconstitutional mandates\u2026 & then make the federal GOP defund it. All of it. End it now. #TakeBackAmerica #DefundTyrannyhttps://twitter.com/bidennoms/status/1486063289499103232\u00a0\u2026— Chip Roy (@Chip Roy) 1643142713
According to Fox News, the letter is circulating around Capitol Hill this week. Lawmakers have until Friday to sign on, and already more than a dozen have done so, including Reps. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), Clay Higgins (R-La.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.).
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