The Democratic Party has adopted an increasingly progressive platform in recent years, which has left some of its more moderate members liked U.S. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) struggling to remain relevant.
That trend was on display this week when Manchin voiced his support for a Republican-led effort to overturn the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
“There is too much at stake”
According to PJ Media, Republicans are pushing for a resolution that would use the Congressional Review Act to end a mandate impacting private businesses with more than 100 employees.
The rule announced recently by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has already been blocked by federal court rulings.
For his part, Manchin maintained on Thursday that he believes Democrats are wrong on the issue but explained why he planned to vote against a GOP amendment to a short-term spending bill that would have defunded all five federal vaccine mandates imposed by the White House.
He noted that if that amendment had passed, the entire bill would have gone back to the House. Given the impending deadline for a government shutdown, such a move would have risked derailing the stopgap measure entirely.
“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and as the new Omicron variant emerges, I will not vote to shut down the government for purely political reasons,” Manchin said. “There is too much at stake for the American people.”
“It jeopardizes freedoms and livelihoods”
Nevertheless, the West Virginia Dem statement made it clear that he does not “support any government vaccine mandate on private businesses” and has “cosponsored and will strongly support a bill to overturn the federal government vaccine mandate for private businesses.”
As for the bill that Manchin is currently supporting, it has already been endorsed by all 50 Senate Republicans. According to The Hill, the CRA measure needs only a simple majority — 51 votes — to pass, meaning Manchin’s vote could guarantee its success in the Senate.
Of course, it would still face an uphill battle in the House, although a few moderate lawmakers in that chamber might also opt to side with the GOP on this issue. Even if it did pass through Congress, however, President Joe Biden would likely strike it down with a veto.
Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) introduced the bill and released a statement on Friday applauding his Democratic colleague for voicing his support.
“President Biden’s unconstitutional vaccine mandate for private businesses is not a partisan issue: it jeopardizes the freedoms and livelihoods of Americans in all 50 states, and I hope that more Democratic Senators and Representatives will follow Senator Manchin’s strong lead and stand up against this federal overreach that will wreak havoc on our recovering economy and trample on the rights of millions of Americans,” the Indiana Republican said.