On Thursday night, the West Virginia Democrat released a statement declaring his opposition to President Biden's order requiring businesses with at least 100 employees to force their workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo regular testing by Jan. 4.
"In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and as the new Omicron variant emerges, I will not vote to shut down the government for purely political reasons," Manchin said. "There is too much at stake for the American people."
"But let me be clear, I do not support any government vaccine mandate on private businesses," he continued. "That's why I have co-sponsored and will strongly support a bill to overturn the federal government vaccine mandate for private businesses."
"I have long said we should incentivize, not penalize, private employers whose responsibility it is to protect their employees from COVID-19," Manchin wrote.
He advised his constituents to get vaccinated, "I have personally had both vaccine doses and a booster shot, and I continue to urge every West Virginian to get vaccinated themselves."
Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) hopes more Democratic senators join their Republican colleagues in supporting a resolution to roll back Biden's vaccine mandate for businesses.
"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," Braun said on Friday.
Braun told The Hill that he is in talks with a handful of additional Democratic senators to get on board with the resolution.
Republicans introduced the disapproval resolution earlier this year under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). All 50 GOP Senators have already signed on to the resolution challenging President Biden.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) talked about federal vaccine mandates during an appearance on Fox News, and noted that the resolution "has a decent chance of passing the Senate."
“Well, I think there is good news. Multiple courts have pushed the pause button on these government vaccine mandates," McConnell said. "There is a decent chance the courts will strike them down. Secondly, next week we are 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.”
The resolution is expected to arrive at the floor of the Senate for a vote next week. If passed in the Senate, the resolution would head to the Democratic-controlled House, where it would likely be voted down. However, if the measure was somehow passed by Congress, President Biden would surely veto the resolution.