In a move by Republicans that is seen as mostly symbolic, the U.S. Senate adopted a Dec. 8 measure to repeal President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine-or-test mandate for private companies, according to the New York Times.
The 52-48 vote would reverse administration guidelines requiring firms with 100 or more employees to require immunizations or coronavirus testing for millions of employees.
Biden implemented the mandate on Nov. 4 by setting a new rule at the U.S.Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that requires “employers with 100 or more employees to ensure each of their workers is fully vaccinated or tests for COVID-19 on at least a weekly basis,” according to the White House.
The campaign is part of President Biden’s long-running effort to boost the number of people who are vaccinated. The White House announced a raft of new measures in this effort on Dec. 2., which include increased access to boosters and vaccines for school children.
Midterm election strategy
The measure is unlikely to pass the House, and President Biden has the numbers he needs to veto it, but it allows Republicans to launch an attack on Democrats that will almost certainly be fundamental to their midterm election campaigns, according to the New York Times. The legislation to prevent the vaccine-or-test mandate was proposed by Senator Mike Braun who tweeted “back off and stop this crazy Federal overreach.”
In the wake of the Covid outbreak, vaccination requirements were praised as a way to help the United States recover, but President Joe Biden now finds himself fighting for them “on three fronts: in the judicial system, Congress, and in the court of public opinion,” NBC news notes.
Some Republican governors have said that Mr. Biden does not have the power to implement these regulations, which are expected to affect more than 100 million people.
So far, federal judges in Georgia, Louisiana, and Missouri — all of whom were selected by Republicans — put a block in the administration’s attempt to vaccinate all Americans, according to the Washington Post.
White House promises to back vaccine mandates
According to a White House aide and a strategist close to the administration who asked to speak anonymously for NBC News, Biden is wagering that the long-term benefits of eliminating the illness will exceed the short-term political consequences.
Vaccinations, according to the source, are “one of the best weapons we have against the virus.” The person called it “extremely regrettable” that Republicans are “acting like virus lobbyists” and impeding Biden’s attempt to destroy it.
Despite recent political and legal hurdles, White House officials have said that the mandates are already producing the desired outcomes.