A coalition of Republican senators is considering a government shutdown in order to block funding for President Biden’s employer vaccine mandate.

Background: President Biden recently announced that all employers with over 100 workers will be forced to get the vaccine by early January. The mandate has spurred multiple lawsuits from states and organizations arguing the order is a gross example of federal overreach.

Context: President Biden’s vaccine mandate is expected to impact over 80 million Americans.

What Happened: Sen. Mike Lee, Senate Republican Steering Committee Chairman, is leading some Senate Republicans to consider blocking funding for the vaccine mandate by refusing to yield back procedural time on the floor. If this happens it could take as long as nine days to approve a stopgap spending measure that would keep the government funded into late January or February. (The Hill)

How It Works: Senate Republicans are attempting to leverage Democrats to defund the vaccine mandate.

However, if Democrats refuse, Republicans could prolong consideration of the appropriations stop-gap for up to nine days.

It would take a day for the House of Representatives to pass the stop-gap and send it to the Senate and another day to place it on the Senate calendar. 

A cloture motion to end a filibuster could be filed on the third day and a vote on cloture on the motion to proceed would take place on day five.

Sen. Lee and others could require up to 30 hours to debate the motion to proceed, which would push the debate until day six. 

It then would take another three days to file a cloture motion on the bill itself, vote on the cloture motion, and then spend thirty hours of post-cloture debate time before holding a final up-or-down vote. (per The Hill)

What Republicans Say: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made it clear the government will not shut down.

“We won’t shut down,” he said.

What Democrats Say: Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer told reporters he hopes to avoid a government shutdown but was unclear if Democrats would consider defunding Biden’s vaccine employer mandate.

“We’re making good progress on the CR. I hope a small group of Republicans don’t choose obstruction and try to shut down the government,” he said. “We need to come together and keep the government open.”

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