Business Insider: Conservative Republicans are threatening a government shutdown in 2 days to nix funding for Biden’s vaccine mandate — which isn’t even in effect yet

Congress is inching closer to a government shutdown in two days as conservative lawmakers threaten to oppose a short-term funding bill over President Joe Biden’s vaccine and testing mandate for large employers.

There’s just one problem with their combative approach: The directive hasn’t taken effect yet, and it will likely be tied up in courts for a while.

A group of 11 Senate Republicans that includes Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Mike Lee of Utah is threatening to hold up swift passage of a short-term government funding bill (known as a continuing resolution), something that requires the consent of all 100 senators in the upper chamber. It’s thrown a huge wrench in bipartisan talks to extend federal funding into either January or February.

It mirrors earlier demands from conservative hard-liners like Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Chip Roy of Texas to shut down the government if new spending legislation doesn’t strip out funding for the mandate. Failure to pass a stopgap measure would cause the government to partially close its doors after 11:59 p.m. on Friday, which would lead to the third shutdown since 2017.

The vaccine and testing mandate is reviled among many Republican lawmakers, who say they view it as a case of gross federal overreach. They’ve tried repeatedly to eliminate it in Congress but lack the necessary votes.

Biden issued it in September as cases of the Delta variant surged. He mandated that private employers with 100 workers or more require shots or set up regular testing in workplaces. It was supposed to take effect in January, but GOP officials in 23 states sued to prevent the Occupational Safety and Health Administration from carrying it out. A federal court blocked the measure last month.

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Judi Conti, the government-affairs director at the National Employment Law Project, said it would probably take several more weeks for the case to travel through federal courts.

“Anybody who was planning to try to shut the government down over a mandate that isn’t even going to take effect yet — because it’s tied up in the courts — is getting ready to inflict an awful lot of cruelty on federal employees and contractors across the country for absolutely no reason,” Conti said in an interview.

She added that a government shutdown would threaten to jeopardize the flow of paychecks to federal workers. They’d eventually get back pay, but some could struggle to cover day-to-day expenses like groceries and rent during a shutdown. For often low-paid contractors like janitors, it’s a different story: Conti said they’d lose out on their wages entirely.

Read the full article at Business Insider

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