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Senate votes to repeal Biden’s federal vaccine mandate

In a 52-48 vote, the Senate approved the repeal with senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Jon Tester (D-MT) voting alongside the Republicans.

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Katie Daviscourt Seattle WA
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The Senate voted on Wednesday to repeal President Biden's federal vaccine mandate for private businesses under the "Congressional Review Act."

In a 52-48 vote, the Senate approved the repeal with senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Jon Tester (D-MT) voting alongside the Republicans.

As a condition of employment under the Biden administration's vaccine mandate on private businesses, employers with 100 or more employees would be required to ensure that their employees are vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo regular testing.

The senate's vote to repeal the mandate does not yet mean it will actually be repealed. The bill still has to go through the house, and even if the house approves the repeal, President Biden still has the power to veto the bill.

Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) sponsored the bill and said the mandates are a "heavy hand of government" hurting businesses, according to Fox News.

"It's got Main Street America scared," Braun said. "They're worried about, well, what does this mean on other issues? Anybody who thinks this is a good idea, imagine the next time it happens when you're on the wrong side on whatever the merits of the case would be."

Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia said that families should be able to decide which medical treatments they get without having to fear losing the ability to provide for their families.  

"It's daunting to families as they're facing higher bills for their gas and their heating," Sen. Capito said. "They are very concerned about what this would do to their long-term ability to get a job, keep a job. I think they realize that this is an invasion into their own abilities to make decisions about themselves in their health care."

In contrast, Senate Democrats were strongly against repealing the mandates and reckoned their reasoning to the repeal being anti-science.

"Some of the anti-vaxxers here in this chamber remind me of what happened 400 years ago when people were clinging to the fact that the sun revolved around the Earth. They just didn't believe science. Or 500 years ago when they were sure the Earth was flat," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said.

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