GOP Senators officially file challenge to Biden’s vaccine mandate for businesses

WASHINGTON—Today, U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) joined his 49 Senate Republican colleagues, led by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator Mike Braun (R-IN), in filing the formal challenge against President Biden’s vaccine mandate under the Congressional Review Act. The Congressional Review Act is the official process for Congress to eliminate an executive branch rule. The resolution has been received by the Senate and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP). This move to overturn President Biden’s vaccine or test mandate for private employers is guaranteed a vote on the Senate floor. The rule was transmitted to the Senate on November 16th, setting up a Floor vote as soon as early December.

“The COVID vaccines are safe, effective, and free. And I believe everyone who is eligible for a vaccine should get one. Since the Administration began rolling out vaccine requirements for federal employees and contractors, therapeutics have emerged which yield promising results in preventing hospitalization and death due to COVID. With therapeutics around the corner to treat COVID, the need for an emergency federal mandate is unnecessary,” said Senator Romney.

Also joining the filing were Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Mike Lee (R-UT), James Lankford (R-OK), Rick Scott (R-FL), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Rand Paul (R-KY), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Barrasso (R-WY), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), John Thune (R-SD), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Roger Wicker (R-MS),  Richard Burr (R-MS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), John Hoeven (R-ND), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), James Risch (R-ID), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Josh Hawley (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Todd Young (R-IN), John Kennedy (R-LA), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Ben Sasse (R-NE). Steve Daines (R-MT), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Thom Tillis (R-NC), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tim Scott (R-SC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Rob Portman (R-OH), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). Congressman Fred Keller (PA-12) (Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Workforce Protections) and other members in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced the same bill.

BACKGROUND:

On September 8, President Joe Biden announced vaccine mandates that extend to 80 million private sector workers and additional mandates on millions of federal workers and contractors.

To implement this mandate, OSHA issued an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). Employers that fail to comply will be fined $13,653 for each offense and willful violations will result in a $136,532 penalty. This rule places unrealistic compliance burdens on employers—especially during a time where business and supply chains are already under duress. For example, 30 days after publication, all requirements other than testing for employees must be in place. In addition, 60 days after publication, all testing requirements must be in place.

The Congressional Review Act (CRA) can be used by Congress to overturn certain federal agency regulations and actions through a joint resolution of disapproval. If a CRA joint resolution of disapproval is approved by both houses of Congress and signed by the President, or if Congress successfully overrides a presidential veto, the rule at issue is invalidated.