US Senate Votes to Overturn “Vaccine Passport” on Businesses

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The United States Senate voted, last night (8th), to overturn the demand for a vaccine against Covid-19 – a proposal by President Joe Biden – for private companies with more than 100 employees.

While it will likely not become law, as its chances of getting a vote in the House are uncertain, and Biden will certainly veto it, the effort demonstrates bipartisan opposition in Congress to the federal government’s demand for vaccinations on big employers.

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The effort was led by Republican Senator Mike Braun from Indiana and needed only a simple 51-vote majority to pass the House.

Biden announced in September that he would direct the Department of Labor to require all companies with 100 or more employees to mandate that their employees be fully vaccinated or undergo weekly Covid-19 tests and wear masks.

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The emergency rule was issued in November, prompting lawsuits from Republican-led states and private employers, but also from liberal-leaning unions.

A federal appeals court last month temporarily blocked the Biden administration’s vaccine rules, which were slated to go into effect on Jan. 4. The various lawsuits against the mandate were consolidated and reassigned to a federal appeals court in Ohio, with many expecting the case to end up in the US Supreme Court.

Last month, Senate Republicans challenged Biden’s mandate under the Congressional Review Act, a legislative tool that allows Congress to overturn an Executive rule.

Braun and other Senate Republicans have argued that the vaccine mandate is an abuse of authority by the federal government and puts further pressure on already struggling companies, while insisting that vaccines are a personal choice.

Last week, as Congress faced a deadline to fund the government, some Senate Republicans threatened to force a government shutdown unless they voted on an amendment that would ban the use of federal funding for Biden’s Covid-19 vaccine mandates. The amendment, however, ended up failing in a 50-48 vote.

As he voted to extend government funding through February to avoid a stoppage, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia announced that he has signed on as co-sponsor of the GOP resolution to void the vaccine mandate for businesses and “the will strongly support”.

“I have long said that we should encourage, not penalize, private employers whose responsibility it is to protect their Covid-19 employees,” the West Virginia Democrat said in a statement last week.

Manchin is not the only Democrat to express support for the repeal of the vaccine mandate.

Explaining his opposition to the vaccine mandate, Democratic Senator Jon Tester of Montana said he “has repeatedly heard concerns from Montana small businesses and community leaders about the negative effect the vaccine mandate for private companies will have on their bottom line and on the economy of Montana. our state”.

“That’s why I plan to join a bipartisan majority of my colleagues in defending Montana jobs and small businesses against these onerous regulations,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell previously told Fox News that the Senate will vote on the resolution this week, adding that he thinks it will have a “decent chance of passing the Senate.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized the Republican-led challenge to the Covid-19 vaccine mandate as an “anti-science and anti-vaccination vote.”

“If their plans go into effect, Covid will last longer and increase the chance of new variants and new, more dangerous variants occurring,” said Schumer on Capitol Hill. “It’s anti-science, anti-common sense, it doesn’t make sense.”

Many companies, however, voluntarily adopted security measures early in the Covid-19 pandemic to protect their employees and customers, and are moving forward with Covid’s vaccine mandates, regardless of whether courts overturn or uphold Biden administration regulations.

Manu Raju of CNN contributed to this report.

(Text translated, read original in English here)

Reference: CNN Brasil

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