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02.18.2022 0

Senate narrowly defeats two vaccine defund amendments

One vote was straight party line with four Republicans absent from vote

By Catherine Mortensen

Late Thursday the United States Senate defeated two amendments that would have stripped out funding for the Biden administration to enforce its various vaccine mandates.

Americans for Limited Government led a national campaign to urge support for Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-Utah) amendment to a temporary government funding bill. Lee’s amendment would have defunded all enforcement of the Biden vaccine mandates affecting American workers, including federal contractors, military personnel, and healthcare workers. The online campaign, DefundtheMandates.com, resulted in 24.6 million emails being sent to Congress urging them to defund the vaccine mandates.

“The American people are sick and tired of the federal government micromanaging every minute detail of their lives,” Lee said during brief debate on his amendment. Workers who don’t want to comply with vaccine mandates, he said, “deserve better than pink slips and boots out the door simply for making their own medical choices.”

On a straight party line vote, 46 Republicans voted in favor of the amendment and 47 Democrats opposed to it. Four Republicans, Sens. Mitt Romney (Utah), James Inhofe (Okla.), Richard Burr (N.C.), and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) were absent from the vote.

“This is a shameful thing on the record of those absent senators,” said Americans for Limited Government (ALG) President Richard Manning. “This was our opportunity to once and for all end Biden’s unconstitutional COVID vaccine mandates. The constituents of these Senators need to know that their elected representatives failed to show up and do their job. These senators need to be held accountable.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) offered a second amendment that would have protect the rights of parents to make medical decisions for the more than 81 million U.S. children 19 years old and under.  The vote failed in a mostly party line vote of 44 to 49 with seven Senator absent from the vote. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) was the only Republican to vote against the amendment.

The  Cruz Amendment would have defunded school-based COVID-19 vaccine mandates affecting children.

Cruz said his amendment was needed to prevent an “absolute abuse of power” by local school boards. “If you want to vaccinate your children, that ought to be your choice … but we are seeing arrogant blue-state Democrats across the country say to moms and dads, ‘I don’t care what your views are,'” Cruz said. “These petty tyrants have no right to force parents to vaccinate children with a new and untested vaccine.”

The amendment would have restricted federal funding from being made available to any entity, school, center or facility that imposes such a mandate, including:

  • State and local educational agencies
  • Public schools and charter schools
  • Private or parochial schools
  • Child care centers
  • Head Start facilities

Biden is expected to sign the stopgap spending measure— the third such measure passed since September to keep the lights on in government offices. But lawmakers still faced the more difficult task of negotiating a final spending package for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.

Catherine Mortensen is Vice President of Communications for Americans for Limited Government.

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