A group of Congressional Republicans is planning to force a government shutdown on Friday to defund President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate, Politico reports.
Congress must extend government funding by Friday in order to keep government agencies operational but a group of conservatives is planning to object to quick consideration of a stopgap bill to extend funding until early next year unless Democratic leaders agree to cut off money to enforce the mandate.
Because of Senate rules, the group believes their objections will be able to delay the vote until after midnight, when funding runs out.
It’s unclear how many members are involved by 15 Republican senators signed a letter earlier this month vowing to “use all means at our disposal” to block any government funding bill that does not reject funding for Biden’s vaccine mandate.
Mike Lee leads the way:
“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,” Utah Sen. Mike Lee said in a statement to Politico. “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.”
Others who signed the letter earlier this month include Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall, Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.
House Republicans have far fewer tools at their disposal to block or delay bills but the House Freedom Caucus on Tuesday voted to pressure House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to take a harder line against the government funding bill.
When the House passed the last stopgap bill, 34 House Republicans supported the vote and leaders did not whip members against it.
“There is leverage immediately in the Senate, and we think that House Republicans ought to be backing up any number of Senate Republicans … to use all procedural tools to deny the continuing resolution passage Friday night — unless they restrict use of those funds for vaccine mandates,” Texas Rep. Chip Roy told Politico.