49 Republicans pledge to shut down government over federal vaccine mandates
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Forty-nine Republicans signed a letter pledging to shut down the government over federal vaccine mandates.
Fox News Digital first broke the news of the letter floating around Republican Hill offices last month. It was formally sent to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., on Wednesday.
The letter tells the leaders that their party is reaching another crossroads where they "must once again decide whether they will vote to fund a federal government that is enforcing tyrannical COVID-19 vaccine mandates on the American people."
Rep. Chip Roy reacts to an objection to playing a video involving school board meetings before Attorney General Merrick Garland testifies at a House Judiciary Committee hearing at the U.S. Capitol on Oct. 21, 2021. (Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images)
The lawmakers took aim at the "myriad municipalities and states that directly benefit of federal funding" as a result of the vaccine orders, including in Washington, D.C.
They also pointed out that the Biden administration has "unilaterally imposed" five COVID-19 vaccine mandates, referring to the mandates on medical workers, the military, federal employees and federal government contractors.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule, that businesses with at least 100 employees must require workers to get vaccinated or get tested weekly and wear a mask, was struck down by the Supreme Court at the beginning of January.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy holds a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Aug. 24, 2021. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)
The court ruled that OSHA lacked the authority to impose such a mandate because the law that created OSHA "empowers the Secretary to set workplace safety standards, not broad public health measures."
"Congressional Republicans cannot continue to abdicate their Article I duties in hopes the judicial branch will rule in favor of the American people," the GOP lawmakers wrote.
"Therefore, we the undersigned refuse to consider supporting any federal government funding vehicle, be it a continuing resolution or an omnibus appropriations measure, that funds the enforcement of COVID-19 vaccine mandates at any level of government," they continued.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
The current funding for the federal government will expire mid-February, meaning Congress will have to pass a continuing resolution or appropriations legislation to keep the lights on.
Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, told Fox News Digital last week that he and his colleagues are "going to find out" whether the Republicans will "unite" and "pledge not to fund these mandates."
"Most Republicans say that vax mandates are tyrannical and foolish, but will they unite before government funding expires on Feb. 18 to pledge not to fund enforcement of these mandates?" Roy asked.
"Will at least 10 of the 19 GOP senators who voted to punt last time now stand up for health care workers or not?" he continued. "We're going to find out."
The letter made its rounds around the Hill last week, with Roy picking up 48 cosigners from both chambers of Congress.
Joining Roy on the letter are Republican Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, and Mike Lee of Utah as well as Reps. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Warren Davidson of Ohio, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, and others.
Fox News’ Kelly Laco contributed to this report.