Conservative leaders told Breitbart News exclusively that they are urging Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to return swiftly to the United States Senate so that Republicans can have the votes to defund President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates.
Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Mike Braun (R-IN), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) are leading the fight to defund President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates in the continuing resolution (CR). The conservatives have made it clear that they will not consent to expedite the passage of a continuing resolution to fund the federal government without a roll call vote on an amendment that defunds the enforcement of the remaining federal vaccine mandates.
Congress needs to pass a CR or another spending bill before March 11 to keep the government open.
The Supreme Court blocked the OSHA vaccine mandate for large employers; however, the federal government can still enforce the other four mandates, which include the mandate on medical workers, military personnel, federal employees, and federal contractors.
Although Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has signaled that there is “no danger of a government shutdown” over vaccine mandates, there remain enough votes in the Senate to pass an amendment to the CR to defund the vaccine mandates.
The Senate in December passed a congressional review act (CRA) resolution that would repeal Biden’s vaccine mandate for private sector empl0yers. The CRA measure required only 50 votes, but received 52 votes, with support coming from two Democrats, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Jon Tester (D-MT).
After Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) suffered a stroke — he is still convalescing — there remains ample opportunity for Republicans to seize the moment and pass an amendment to the CR to defund the vaccine mandates.
However, Senate Republicans have an issue facing their potential defunding of Biden’s vaccine mandate: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is currently overseas, depriving Republicans of a crucial vote to help pass the vaccine-defunding amendment.
That is why conservative leaders are calling on Graham to fly straight from Israel to Washington, DC, at a moment’s notice.
Ken Blackwell, a former ambassador and policy board member of the American Constitutional Rights Union, said in an exclusive statement to Breitbart News, “Senator Graham has always been a supporter of the men and women in the Armed Forces, and we’re calling on him to cast his vote to end this assault on the religious liberty of American heroes.”
Breitbart News’s Kristina Wong reported last week that nearly 1,000 service members have been discharged over Biden’s vaccine mandate. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) also slammed the military’s religious accommodation process for the coronavirus vaccine mandates, calling it a “sham.”
Jerry Boykin, a retired three-star Army general who commanded Army Special Operations and Delta Force, told Breitbart News, “The US Military is experiencing a crisis that will have devastating consequences for generations to come due to the vaccine mandate. Bullying service members to submit to an injection that they are strongly opposed to or discharging them with “Less Than Honorable” discharges when they refuse will impact the recruiting of all services as young Americans develop negative attitudes toward military service. Furthermore, parents throughout the nation will be far less inclined to encourage their children or support serving in the military. The result is that the standards are lowered for entry into the services and the readiness of our most important national security entity will decline at a time when our adversaries are growing bolder and more aggressive. Congress must stop this before it is too late.”
The timing remains unclear as to if or when Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) might hold amendment votes on the CR. Schumer could also raise the threshold for the amendment to 60 votes, requiring a supermajority. However, as the conservatives said, it is crucial that Senate Republicans fight Biden’s vaccine mandates.
Senate Republicans have often been defeated by Schumer in CR battles, much to McConnell’s chagrin. But now, Senate Republicans can show unity and pressure moderate Democrats to defund the vaccine mandates.
Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), who is leading the fight to defund the vaccine mandate in the House, said, “It is not enough to “process amendments,” @LeaderMcConnell. We expect you to get ALL 50 @SenateGOP present & voting to remove ALL COVID mandates, or vote no on funding enforcement of those mandates. You have the power to defend Americans. Use it. #DefundVaxMandates.”
It is not enough to “process amendments,” @LeaderMcConnell. We expect you to get ALL 50 @SenateGOP present & voting to remove ALL COVID mandates, or vote no on funding enforcement of those mandates. You have the power to defend Americans. Use it. #DefundVaxMandates https://t.co/AAAUwkq0SM
— Chip Roy (@chiproytx) February 16, 2022
The House Freedom Caucus released a statement calling on Senate Republicans to defund the vaccine mandate:
We write to emphasize our continued objection to President Biden’s tyrannical COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
From the beginning, the House Freedom Caucus has fought against the un-American, job-killing pandemic policies that have undermined the liberty and livelihood of our citizens. For nearly two years, the American People have been the victims of draconian COVID-19 restrictions and mandates that have proven ineffective at mitigating the virus, but have fueled shocking increases in crime, suicide, overdoses, mental health issues, learning difficulties, poverty, and hunger. At long last, many state and local governments are beginning to abandon their tyrannical bureaucratic overreach; it’s time for the federal government to do the same.
This week, as the Senate considers legislation to extend government funding through March 11, 2022, we urge our colleagues to join us in opposing all funding for the enforcement of COVID-19 vaccine mandates on American Citizens.
Congress determines how Taxpayer dollars are spent through the “power of the purse” granted us in Article I of the Constitution. We must not abdicate to the Judicial branch our responsibility to decide the supposed constitutionality of the questions just to avoid taking difficult votes.
We owe the American People the certainty that the courts cannot provide. We also must defend them against losing their job or being forced to inject themselves. The question is simple: will we stand with the American People or won’t we?
We urge you – and all Senators – not to just seek to “process amendments,” but to seek the only resolution a free people deserve: defunding President Biden’s harmful vaccine mandates.
It’s time to act. The American People are depending on us.
???BREAKING: House Freedom Caucus sends letter urging Senate Republicans to oppose all funding for the enforcement of vaccine mandates on American Citizens. #DefundVaxMandates pic.twitter.com/eMJ46vndSt
— House Freedom Caucus (@freedomcaucus) February 16, 2022
The six senators that have urged their Senate colleagues to back the defunding of the vaccine mandate noted that although the Supreme Court has blocked one mandate, the other mandates are just as harmful.
The Senate conservatives wrote:
In addition to the lingering, harmful uncertainty faced by those subject to the four remaining COVID-19 mandates – specifically, those imposing vaccine requirements on medical workers, military personnel, federal employees, and federal contractors – the American people as a whole still face uncertainty as to whether President Biden has abandoned his desire to impose similar requirements on them.
We will continue to stand against these mandates until they are discontinued in ambition, design, and practice. For that reason, we are writing to let you know that we will not consent to a time agreement that eases passage of the Continuing Resolution (“CR”) now before the Senate absent an agreement to allow for a roll call vote on an amendment that defunds the enforcement of these vaccine mandates for the spending period covered by the CR.
Frederick Douglass correctly observed that “the limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” As Members of Congress, we must not abdicate our Article I duties in hopes that the judicial branch will rule in favor of the American people, or that if left unaddressed by legislative action the problem before us will somehow dissipate. History will bear record of whether we chose to endure tyranny, or oppose it, in this pivotal moment. We invite you to stand with us and oppose the CR until it explicitly defunds the implementation and enforcement of these mandates.
“At a minimum, we need to take a vote on this before funding their enforcement. The livelihoods and personal freedoms of millions of Americans are at stake,” the Senate conservatives concluded.
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.