- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 3, 2022

The Senate voted Wednesday to get rid of President Biden’s vaccine mandate on health workers at places that receive federal funding in a political messaging move ahead of the midterm elections.

Senators voted 49-44 for the disapproval resolution, which would use the Congressional Review Act to eliminate the mandate.

“I thank my Senate colleagues for joining me in voting to END the CMS vaccine mandate,” Rep. Roger Marshall, Kansas Republican, tweeted, referring to the agency that controls Medicare and Medicaid funding. “I hope my colleagues in the House join us as well in voting to save thousands of healthcare jobs we simply can’t afford to lose.”

The House is controlled by Democrats, so the resolution faces long odds on that side of the Capitol. Even if it gets through, the White House has made it clear that Mr. Biden would veto the measure to protect his own mandate.

“The administration’s vaccination requirement for health care workers at facilities that participate in Medicare or Medicaid will protect the lives of patients, health care providers, and other workers at 76,000 medical facilities nationwide,” the White House said in a statement on administration policy. “Giving patients additional confidence regarding the safety and quality of their care is a critical responsibility of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and a key to combatting the pandemic.”

The Supreme Court struck down a broader mandate that required large companies to regularly test workers who refuse to get vaccinated. However, the justices upheld the health-worker mandate.

Republicans say the mandate is bad policy because it could lead to staffing shortages at hospitals and punish workers who served on the frontlines of the COVID-19 battle for two years and choose to remain unvaccinated.

The GOP is betting that forcing Democrats to defend COVID-19 mandates will help Republicans retake the House and the Senate in November’s elections.

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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