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News for January 23, 2022

Senate Votes to Block Biden’s Vaccine-or-Test Mandate

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On Wednesday night, the Senate voted to nullify the Biden administration’s rule that big private companies must have their employees tested or vaccinated against COVID-19 to avoid losing their job.

The vote was 52-48 with Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana, two democrats, siding with Republicans in a bid to overturn the law.

“Getting vaccinated should be a decision between an individual and his or her doctor. It shouldn’t be up to any politician, especially in a mandate coming down from that highest authority, the president,” Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., who led the effort to overturn the requirement, said during the Senate debate.

The vote is mostly symbolic. It’s unlikely that Democratic leadership in the House will vote on the bill soon. In addition, the White House has said President Biden will veto it.

Republicans utilized the Congressional Review Act, which permits Congress to overturn federal laws and needs a simple majority vote both in the Senate and the House.

Prior to voting, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., stated that he was strongly opposed to the measure and criticized those who opposed the requirement as anti-vaxxers. However, several lawmakers said they believed in vaccines but not mandates.

“Some of the anti-vaxxers here in this chamber remind me of what happened 400 years ago when people were clinging to the fact that the sun revolved around the Earth,” he said.

“They just didn’t believe science. Or 500 years ago when they were sure the Earth was flat.”

Braun, who claimed he is pro-vaccine and is vaccinated, called the Biden administration’s mandate “the heavy hand of government” and “overreach.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated that the administration would “vigorously defend” the vaccine-or-testing directive against legal challenges that are likely to be heard in the Supreme Court.

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