You’ll probably be disappointed to know that Congress managed to get a bill passed to keep the government open. After delaying until the very last minute, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate voted to keep the doors open until at least February of next year. (But Democrats are still very far away from getting the debt ceiling raised.)
Republicans tried to use the CR to get an amendment through that would ban vaccine mandates. It was a smart move, since Democrats eager to fund the government would be forced to vote for it. And it was the first time Congress bothered to put forward legislation to check Biden’s runaway administration. But the measure failed, thanks to the acts of two supposed moderate Democrats.
But after voting down this amendment, one of those senators came out and made a surprising statement.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced in a statement on Thursday night that he voted to avert a federal government shutdown and fund the government through February 18, 2022, but that he also strongly opposes vaccine mandates for private businesses from the federal government.
“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and as the new Omicron variant emerges, I will not vote to shut down the government for purely political reasons,” Manchin said in a statement. “There is too much at stake for the American people. But let me be clear, I do not support any government vaccine mandate on private businesses.” [Source: Daily Wire]
Manchin was essentially calling out Joe Biden for his infamous mandate against private companies. Even with several court rulings blocking the mandate, Biden is still trying to pressure companies to comply.
Manchin’s statement pits him against the top leader of the party. And it appears he is not simply giving lip service to Americans.
The Democrat claims he has put forward a bill that would overturn Biden’s vaccine mandate for private businesses. Manchin said he supports “incentivizing” employers and employees who get vaccinated, not punish them.
But will Manchin’s bill see the light of day? Banning the vaccine mandate via an amendment to the CR would have ensured Democrats’ votes for it. If they wanted to keep the government open, they would have had to also ban Biden’s mandate. But Manchin and Sinema blocked that amendment, clearing the way for the CR to be passed.
A standalone bill banning Biden’s mandate will be much harder to pass. With the Senate at 50-50, it would require a majority of at least 60 senators to break through the filibuster and pass that bill. Then, it will require the House to pass a version of their own. Does Manchin really think that’s going to happen?
In order for that to happen, considerable leverage would have to be used on congressional Democrats. They will need a compelling reason to support a bill that pits them against Joe Biden. And right now, Manchin doesn’t seem to have it.
Author: Maxwell Jones