Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Wednesday that Republicans in the Senate are universally opposed to President Joe Biden's federal vaccine mandate, predicting that a resolution to nullify the mandate will pass the Senate with Democratic support.
Senators are expected to vote at around 5:30 p.m. ET Wednesday on SJRes29, a bill that would overturn the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's COVID-19 vaccine mandate on large private companies via the Congressional Review Act. The resolution has the full support of the House Republican conference and, Paul told Newsmax, every Republican senator.
"This is a special situation, what we call a privileged motion. It is a real bill and it would be a law but it has to be signed by the president. We can do this any time that there's a regulation or a rule put out," Paul explained Wednesday.
"This resolution, which we're going to pass today, all 50 Republicans will vote for it and the word is that Sen. [Joe] Manchin will join us. So we will end up winning this vote," Paul said.
At least two Senate Democrats have publicly stated they will vote for the resolution. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said last week he will join Republicans to vote for the bill.
“I do not support any government vaccine mandate on private businesses. That’s why I have cosponsored and will strongly support a bill to overturn the federal government vaccine mandate for private businesses,” Manchin said in a statement.
He was joined by Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) on Tuesday, who told The Hill via a spokesman he is "inclined to vote for the CRA resolution" put forward by the Republicans.
Manchin and Tester's support would give a united Republican conference 52 votes to pass the resolution and send it to the House of Representatives for a vote.
Paul was less optimistic that the resolution will pass in the House, where he said Democrats will "march lockstep" to support Biden's vaccine mandate, but he held out hope that some moderates may vote with Republicans.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has no plans to bring the resolution to a floor vote. However, if a majority of the House signs a discharge petition filed by Republicans, they can force Pelosi to hold a vote.
Rep. Fred Keller (R-Pa.), the sponsor of the House's version of the resolution, confirmed Tuesday that all 212 members of the GOP conference had co-sponsored the bill.
Paul also cautioned that even if the House surprised and passed the resolution, Biden will almost certainly veto any attempt by Congress to reverse his vaccination order. He also admitted that there aren't enough Democrats opposed to the mandate in either the House or the Senate to overturn a veto.
"There is some symbolism to this," Paul acknowledged. "But it shows you that the Republican Party is entirely united against mandating or firing people who choose not to get vaccinated."
Regardless of what actions Congress takes, Biden's OSHA mandate has temporarily been suspended pending further litigation after multiple lawsuits were filed challenging the president's authority to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations.
An attempt by some conservative lawmakers to shut down the government to defund the mandate was unsuccessful, as many GOP senators stated their preference for using the Congressional Review Act to show where lawmakers stood on the issue.