Senate Fails to Pass Measure to Bar Funding for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates

Senate Fails to Pass Measure to Bar Funding for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) walks on Capitol Hill in Washington in a file image. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber
3/11/2022
Updated:
3/11/2022

The U.S. Senate on March 10 rejected a measure that would bar funding for COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

The party-line 50–49 vote saw all Democrats vote against the amendment, offered by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), and all Republicans vote for it.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) did not vote because he was experiencing mild COVID-19 symptoms, his office said.

“I want to express my explicit support for defunding vaccine mandates,” Inhofe said in a statement. “Like I have said before, these mandates are unconstitutional and wrong—they would put over half a million Oklahoma workers at risk of losing their jobs over a personal medical decision.”

The measure required a simple majority, but wouldn’t have passed even if Inhofe had joined his Republican colleagues, due to the tiebreaking vote held by the vice president.

The amendment was introduced to “prohibit funding for COVID-19 vaccine mandates.” It would have altered H.R.2471, or the Haiti Development, Accountability, and Institutional Transparency Initiative Act.

The mandates, imposed by President Joe Biden and top officials in his administration on health care workers, government employees, and members of the military, among others, are “fundamentally immoral in addition to being wildly and increasingly unpopular,” Lee said on the Senate floor in Washington before the vote.

President Joe Biden announces COVID-19 vaccine mandates at the White House in Washington on Sept. 9, 2021. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
President Joe Biden announces COVID-19 vaccine mandates at the White House in Washington on Sept. 9, 2021. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

“The secret is people don’t like the government doing things that are immoral, and all of us understand that you don’t render someone unemployed, unable to put bread on the table for their children, simply because they won’t bow to presidential medical orthodoxy. That’s not right. That’s not American. It’s not constitutional. But more than anything, it’s not moral,” he added.

Another key point of contention is the fact the mandates don’t include carveouts for natural immunity, or the protection one enjoys after recovering from COVID-19.

Studies show natural immunity is superior to vaccination.

Most of the mandates have been blocked by courts, but the Supreme Court upheld the health care worker mandate while the mandate for military members remains in effect.

If the amendment were approved, it would have gone to the House of Representatives next.

The Senate recently passed two measures related to COVID-19 that have not yet been taken up by the House, which is controlled by Democrats.

Later Thursday, the Senate passed H.R.2471 in a 68–31 bipartisan vote after rejecting two other amendments.

Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and Todd Young (R-Ind.) joined Democrats in passing the bill.

No Democrats voted against the act, which repeals existing requirements for reporting of assistance to Haiti and directs the State Department to undertake certain actions, including moving to promote “press and assembly freedoms” in the Caribbean country.

Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news. Contact Zachary at [email protected]
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