The American Senate voted on Wednesday to stop the President’s vaccine mandate for private businesses. The measure is symbolic and will have no practical consequences as the mandate is not likely to be converted into law as it has been blocked by the courts.
The Senate vote against the vaccine mandate comes even as a highly mutated variant of the COVID-19 virus gets a foothold across the country.
The move by the Senate is the latest setback to President Biden’s push to use his federal powers to speed up vaccination in the US. The Senate decision on the vaccine mandate is headed for the lower house, held by the Democrats.
But it is up against a tougher barrier in the Democrat-controlled House. The administration has also said it would veto it if it comes to President Biden’s desk.
Measure Against Vaccine Mandate Only A Political Statement
The vaccine mandate has little chance of being converted into law and the effort to have it overturned will have no practical effect, only a political one. The vaccine mandate requires employers with a hundred or more workers to have their workers either vaccinated or have them tested regularly.
The vaccine mandate has already been blocked by a federal court. The Senate measure highlights opposition even among the Democrats to Biden’s policy.
The White House struggles to increase the rate of vaccination even as the Omicron variant gains a foothold in the US. The variant is capable of evading immunity offered even by a double dose of the vaccine.
The measure was approved 52-48 in the Senate. Democrats Joe Manchin and Jon Tester also went along with the Republicans. A simple majority is all that is necessary to reverse rules made by a federal agency under the Congressional Review Act.
Republicans argue that the vaccine mandate could cause harm to small businesses even as they struggle to fight their way out of the economic downturn triggered by the pandemic. they have termed it heavy-handedness and overreach by the federal administration.