A fight over workplace vaccination rules puts government shutdown talk on the table

With a budget deadline looming over Congress, some lawmakers want funding for a vaccine mandate written out of the bill.
Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 3:59 PM CST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Funding for vaccine mandates could play a role in a pending government shutdown. House leaders say they have a deal to keep the government funded into February, but it would have to pass through the Senate- which is now in question with some lawmakers indicating they want funding for a vaccine mandate stripped from the bill.

The deadline to avoid a government shutdown is midnight on Friday.

Some Republicans are seeing the tight government funding deadline as an opportunity to leverage their fight against the Biden administration’s Covid vaccination rules for businesses with over 100 employees.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said, “I don’t know of any Republican who’s not willing to vote on the spending bill as long as there are some amendment votes on the mandate, and so I think it’s a very reasonable proposition. It still might happen, it’s probably the only way that the government stays open tomorrow.”

Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Thursday that there will be no government shutdown.

But the Senate will need all 100 of its members to agree on taking up the House funding bill before a voting on whether to keep the government open after Friday.

Paul, and some of his Republican Senate colleagues, want votes to withhold federal funding for vaccination rules.

Paul said, “Every court in the land has struck down every mandate right now. Every mandate is on hold from the court system. Should we fund mandates when the courts are still reviewing this?”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked about a potential government shutdown over vaccine rule funding.

Psaki said, “We still feel that there’s time for lawmakers to set aside reckless and irresponsible political games and enact the short term continuing resolution that would fund the government through early next year and allow for time for a full year budget agreement.”

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