November 17, 2021

Idaho Delegation Officially Files Challenge to Biden’s Vaccine Mandate for Businesses

Washington, D.C.--Today, Idaho’s U.S. Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch and U.S. Representatives Mike Simpson and Russ Fulcher joined the other 48 Republican Senators and 155 Republican members of the House of Representatives in challenging President Biden’s vaccine mandate under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) by introducing a joint resolution of disapproval of the mandate.  The Congressional Review Act is the official process for Congress to eliminate an executive branch rule.  The Resolution has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.  

This move to overturn President Biden’s vaccine or test mandate for private employers is guaranteed a vote on the Senate Floor.  The rule was transmitted to the Senate on November 16, 2021, setting up a Floor vote as soon as early December.  Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has temporarily suspended enforcement of the vaccine mandates for private business, the CRA, if passed, would codify a prohibition of reinstating the mandate. 

“Vaccines have historically proven to be vital to the public health goal of disease prevention.  We had record vaccine development, thanks to American medical ingenuity and Operation Warp Speed.  However, a one-size-fits-all federal mandate on vaccines and private business practices is not a reasonable solution now--or ever.  Medical decisions are best left to patients and their doctors.  I will continue to fight to ensure the federal government stays within its authorities entrusted to it by the Constitution,” said Senator Crapo. 

“The egregious federal overreach exhibited by President Biden’s vaccine mandate unfairly burdens our nation’s businesses and endangers our individual liberties.  I encourage Idahoans to consult with their healthcare provider about getting the COVID-19 vaccine.  However, getting vaccinated is a decision the federal government cannot make.  Individuals must make this decision themselves,” said Senator Risch

“The Congressional Review Act is an important tool to provide legislative oversight regarding rulemaking of executive agency bureaucrats who were not elected and are not held accountable by their constituents.  This rule impacts not only the independence of our private businesses, but also the confidential and private nature of our health decisions.  I join my Idaho constituents and our lawmakers back home in fighting against this unconstitutional federal intrusion into our lives,” said Representative Fulcher. 

“I got vaccinated and I am comfortable with my decision to do so, but it was just that, my decision.  I do not agree or believe that a vaccine mandate is constitutional, and that is why I cosponsored the Congressional Review Act legislation to try to stop the enforcement of President Biden’s mandate,” said Representative Simpson. 

The CRA was led by U.S. Senator Mike Braun (R-Indiana) and co-sponsored by the rest of the Republican Senate Caucus: Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), Senators Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Bill Hagerty (R-Tennessee), Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), Mike Lee (R-Utah), James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), Rick Scott (R-Florida), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming), Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi), John Thune (R-South Dakota), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), Richard Burr (North Carolina), Mike Rounds (R-South Dakota), John Hoeven (R-North Dakota), Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania), Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Todd Young (R-Indiana), John Kennedy (R-Louisiana), Ron Johnson (R-Ohio), Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska), Steve Daines (R-Montana), Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tim Scott (R-South Carolina), Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana), Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), Richard Shelby (R-Alabama), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah).   

U.S. Representative Fred Keller (R-Pennsylvania), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, Idaho’s U.S. Representatives Mike Simpson and Russ Fulcher, and 155 other members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced the same bill.  

BACKGROUND: 

  • On September 8, President Joe Biden announced vaccine mandates extending to 80 million private sector workers and additional mandates on millions of federal workers and contractors. 
  • To implement this mandate, OSHA issued an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS).  Employers that fail to comply will be fined $13, 653 for each offense and willful violations will result in a $136,532 penalty.  This rule places unrealistic compliance burdens on employers—especially during a time where business and supply chains are already under duress.  For example, 30 days after publication, all requirements other than testing for employees must be in place.  In addition, 60 days after publication, all testing requirements must be in place. 
  • The CRA can be used by Congress to overturn certain federal agency regulations and actions through a joint resolution of disapproval.  If a CRA joint resolution of disapproval is approved by both houses of Congress and signed by the President, or if Congress successfully overrides a presidential veto, the rule at issue is invalidated. 

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