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All Senate Republicans, Two Dems Vote To Repeal Biden's Vaccine Mandate. Gosh, Which Two?
Hint: For once we're not mad at Kyrsten Sinema.
We didn't see this one coming, honestly. After failing to shut down the government a week back in an attempt to roll back President Joe Biden's vaccine mandates, Senate Republicans made a special Christmas wish for the pandemic to last forever, please Jebus. Then they managed to get two Democratic senators to join them, passing a bill Wednesday that would overturn the OSHA rule requiring all companies with 100 or more employees to vaccinate their workers against the coronavirus, or to require weekly COVID tests for those who didn't get the vaccine.
Now, if you read our subhead saying that we're not mad at Kyrsten Sinema for once, you are probably asking yourself, "OK, so it was Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) and what other asshole?" We think it's amusing that you're such a political junkie that you add party affiliations to your internal monologues like that. "It was Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana)," we will say, and then you will say, "Oh, OK, figures. Fuck that guy!"
Currently, the vax (or testing) mandate is suspended anyway by a federal court injunction, and Crom only knows whether it will be upheld, what with federal courts being full of Federalist Society Living Examples Of Why ABA Ratings Matter. So Wednesday's Senate vote will have little practical effect anyway, especially when you consider that the bill is likely to die in Nancy Pelosi's Damn House. Still, the House majority is slim enough that if four Democrats defected and voted with all Republicans, it could pass. But even if that happened, the Office of Management and Budget has already recommended that Biden veto any rollback of the vaccine mandate.
Now you may also be asking yourself, "Hey, how did that pass on a 52-48 vote anyway? Doesn't everything in the Senate need 60 votes to avoid a filibuster?" And you may ask yourself, "Am I right, or am I wrong?" And CNBC would answer that "It needed only a simple majority to pass under the Congressional Review Act, a process that allows Congress to overturn rules made by federal agencies."
And Adam Jentleson, Harry Reid's former chief of staff, would say on last night's Chris Hayes program that "Senate rules are Calvinball."
The CRA, you may recall, is the tool that Donald Trump and his Republican majority in Congress used, shortly after he took office, to gut environmental regulations and to let people declared mentally unfit to manage their affairs buy guns. There is water at the bottom of the ocean, but it's full of mining waste.
So why on earth did Manchin and Tester vote to repeal the mandates, which if allowed to go into effect could help get millions more Americans vaccinated? Manchin said in a statement last week that while he opposed shutting the government down, he'd support a bill to repeal the mandates on private businesses because he thought incentives were nicer than mandates. Tester also issued a statement Tuesday saying he wanted to defend "Montana jobs and small businesses" from "burdensome regulations," as if reducing the chances that the virus would interrupt business were a terrible idea. The Washington Post also says Tester explained he'd join Manchin because he's "not crazy about mandates."
Well thank you very much Mr. Rebecca's Senator. "I don't like mandates, I want to shoo-oo-ooo-ooooot the whole thing down" is a completely different song that isn't even by Talking Heads.
So now nothing will come of the brave Republican pushback, and Team Biden will get back to fighting for the mandates in court, as well as trying to encourage people to get vaccinated and boosted, and a large portion of the population will keep demanding the freedom to infect other people.
Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.
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