Federal Government to Shut Down in Two Days, Some Republicans Seek to Use Leverage to Defund Vax Mandates

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 11: Protesters stand next to a sign during an anti-vaccination rally at the Golden Gate Bridge on November 11, 2021 in San Francisco, California. Protesters against the COVID-19 vaccination gathered at the Golden Gate Bridge to rally against vaccine mandates. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Democrat-controlled federal government will shut down on Friday night while Republicans plan to use the chaos to defund the nationwide vaccine mandate on the private sector.

Democrats must find a solution to fund the government before the federal government closes after midnight Friday. Though the Democrats are slowly attempting to work out a compromise with Senate and House Republicans to stave off another shut down until January 28, that could have been prevented weeks if not months ago by Democrats prioritizing funding the government instead of pushing massive spending bills through Congress.

Republicans, however, see an opportunity to defund President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate on the private sector. Republicans are “planning to object to quick consideration of a stopgap measure to extend funding into early 2022 unless Democratic leaders agree to deny money to enforce the mandate,” Politico Playbook reported.

“I’m sure we would all like to simplify the process for resolving the CR, but I can’t facilitate that without addressing the vaccine mandates,” Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) told Playbook. “Given that federal courts across the country have raised serious issues with these mandates, it’s not unreasonable for my Democratic colleagues to delay enforcement of the mandates for at least the length of the continuing resolution.”

It would only take one Republican in the Senate to force the Democrats’ hand, though there may be as many as 15 GOP senators willing to call Democrats’ bluff.

Republican senators also reportedly have support from Republican House members, which also get a vote to approve any funding measure the Senate passes. According to Playbook, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is supporting the Senators’ strategy.

Conservative Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) told Playbook Senate Republicans have “leverage” to block funding for the vaccine mandate enforcement using “all procedural tools to deny the continuing resolution passage Friday night.”

If Republicans force Democrats to defund the vaccine mandates in a continuing resolution before Friday’s midnight deadline, the government may shut down for a few days while congressional Democrats flush out the resolution. “The Senate can’t begin the process of voting until the CR passes the House — and the House can’t pass the CR until a deal is agreed to,” Playbook reported.

Shutting down the government might complicate the Senate Democrats’ legislative calendar. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has promised to pass multiple critical pieces of legislation before Christmas. Among them are suspending the debt ceiling before December 15, passing a routine defense bill, and weighing the $1.9 trillion reconciliation package the week of the 15th.

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.