House Freedom Caucus Urges McConnell to Block Spending Bill Over Vaccine Mandates

House Freedom Caucus Urges McConnell to Block Spending Bill Over Vaccine Mandates House Freedom Caucus Urges McConnell to Block Spending Bill Over Vaccine Mandates Sen. Mitch McConnell. (Leigh Vogel/Getty)

By Fran Beyer | Wednesday, 01 December 2021 01:15 PM

The House Freedom Caucus on Wednesday called on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to do everything he can to to deny "timely passage" of the Biden administration's spending bill unless it prohibits funding for vaccine mandates.

In a letter, the conservative caucus noted the funding mechanism expires Friday night and "the Senate Republican conference enjoys important leverage against those mandates."

"We therefore write to request that you use all procedural tools at your disposal to deny timely passage of the [continuing resolution] unless it profits funding — in all respects — for the vaccine mandates and enforcement thereof," the caucus wrote.

The letter comes as lawmakers in both chambers are working to strike a deal to prevent a shutdown on Friday with a continuing resolution, which will temporarily fund the government at the previous year’s fiscal levels until a larger bipartisan agreement can be reached on spending levels for the new year.

House Democrats say they have considered introducing legislation to kickstart the process on Wednesday. But some have said the process has been held up pending an agreement on timing in the Senate where Democrats would need to fetch 10 votes from Republicans in the upper chamber to pass the bill.

President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for businesses, health-care workers, and employees of federal contractors has come under attack from Republicans.

On Monday, a federal judge in Missouri blocked the mandate in 10 states that required vaccinations for health-care workers.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule issued Nov. 4 requiring workers at companies with 100 or more employees to get vaccinated or take weekly COVID-19 tests was blocked Nov. 12 by the Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

The House Freedom Caucus was established in 2015 by a group of nine Republicans lawmakers and it grew to roughly 40 members. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, was its first chair. This year the caucus is headed by Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., and includes 30 House members, according to Ballotpedia.

Original Article