Marshall’s effort to block covid vaccine mandates fails but avoids shutdown

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Attempt by Kansas Senator Roger Marshall to block application from multiple Biden administrations vaccination warrants failed Thursday night, ending a dramatic standoff in the U.S. Senate that could have resulted in the shutdown of the federal government.

Democratic and Republican Senate leaders reached an agreement to allow a vote on an amendment that would fund multiple terms of COVID-19 vaccines, as long as Republican senators did not delay voting on a resolution to keep government funded until the end of the year.

It took 51 yeses to pass an equally divided Senate. He only has 48.

Marshall was one of 15 Senators who in November pledged to try stop the legislation fund the government unless it includes language blocking the application of the Biden administration’s rule ordering private companies with more than 100 employees to demand weekly vaccinations or negative tests.

As Congress neared Friday’s midnight deadline to pass legislation funding the government until the end of the year, Marshall – along with Republican Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas – have stayed true to their promise.

In order to quickly vote on funding resolution, the Senate needed the approval of 100 members. Marshall told the group of reporters who followed him on Thursday that he would not agree without a vote on an amendment to fund the implementation of the vaccine mandates. He called it an effort to save jobs in Kansas.

With a large poster of unionized Topeka workers in the background, Marshall told the Senate he was trying to protect people from being fired.

“It’s an opportunity to right a wrong, for every member of this body to right a wrong,” said Marshall, who wore a tie with characters from the Peanuts comics. “Let’s give employers the confidence and employees the peace of mind that they will always have a job this new year.

Under a new state law, the chances of someone in Kansas losing their job because of the vaccination warrant appear slim.

Ahead of Thanksgiving, the Republican-controlled Kansas legislature passed a bill, signed by Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, that gives wide leeway to those who claim a religious exemption from vaccination and prohibits companies from handing over in question these religious claims.

In addition, anyone who is still made redundant despite the wide exemptions is eligible for unemployment benefits.

The Biden administration also halted execution of the warrant, which was blocked by several federal courts as it progressed through the court system. The mandate was initially only to come into effect on January 4.

While many medical professionals support the warrants as a way to increase immunization rates and defend against hospitalizations and death from more severe forms of COVID-19, Marshall, a doctor, got there. categorically opposed.

“It’s a question of political status for him. He sees that he can perhaps draw political capital from it. But I think we should be spending our time on other matters, ”said Kansas State Senator John Doll, a Garden City Republican who voted against the mandate bill that was passed. by the state legislature.

As the funding deadline approached Thursday, Senator Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, said the group would allow the bill to go ahead if the Senate votes on an amendment preventing execution. of a mandate.

The new plan was based on the hope that some Democrats – like Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia – had changed their minds since September, when there was a vote on a similar amendment to an earlier draft. financing law.

While the amendment only needed 51 votes to pass, several Republican senators were not in the building on Thursday, ensuring that Marshall, Lee, and Cruz wouldn’t have the votes they needed to revise. The law project.

“I am happy that in the end colder heads have prevailed and the government remains open,” Majority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer said in a speech before the vote.

The funding bill, known as the continuing resolution, keeps government open until February 18, when Congress will either need to pass another resolution or multiple supply bills to set new funding levels.

This is unlikely to be the last vote on COVID-19 mandates. Marshall is working to get a vote on an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would guarantee honorable discharge to anyone fired for refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

This story was originally published 2 December 2021 9:07 pm.

Kansas City Star Stories

Daniel Desrochers covers the Kansas City Star convention. Previously, he was a political reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky. He also worked for the Charleston Gazette-Mail in Charleston, West Virginia.


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