The conservative House Freedom Caucus is threatening a government shutdown unless Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell prohibits funding for United States President Joe Biden's vaccine mandates by delaying the passage of a spending bill by Friday.
Recently, some Republican lawmakers have begun supporting the proposal in opposition to Democrats' vaccination requirements. The situation began after the Freedom Caucus sent a letter to McConnell on Wednesday, saying that the House is voting later in the day regarding the spending bill.
The spending bill is known as a continuing resolution, and the vote will continue "without ending any of President Biden's very damaging, un-American, and in the worst cases, unlawful vaccine mandates." Conservatives said that Senate Republicans had crucial "leverage" against Biden's mandates because Democrats required GOP members to support the advance of the spending measure by Friday night.
"We, therefore, write to request that you use all procedural tools at your disposal to deny timely passage of the CR unless it prohibits funding - in all respects - for the vaccine mandates and enforcement thereof," wrote the Freedom Caucus, NBC News reported.
Reports revealed that House conservatives believe they can drag out the process past midnight Friday because of the tight schedule and Senate rules that require unanimous consent to move quickly. If their attempt is successful, the American federal government will most likely shut down for several days.
On Tuesday, McConnell said that "we won't shut down" and that no American citizen should be worried about a potential shutdown. However, the Senate minority leader's remarks are at risk because only one Republican is needed, in theory, to trigger a shutdown. On the other hand, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer believed otherwise, that Republicans had every bit of power to force a government shutdown.
In a statement, Republican Sen. Mike Lee said that he and many others would have liked to simplify the continuing resolution process. However, he noted that he could not facilitate that idea without addressing Biden's vaccine mandates, Yahoo News reported.
Under the U.S. president's directive that was issued this year, private businesses with more than 100 employees are required to mandate their workers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus or implement a testing strategy.
Similarly, Biden imposed policies that targeted federal employees and military service members in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the nation. However, the Democrat's approach has continued to face various legal challenges still playing out in federal courts.
Biden's vaccine mandates have also caused extreme opposition from Republicans on Capitol Hill, who view the requirements as unconstitutional. Additionally, GOP officials have repeatedly launched legislative strikes to defund or eliminate Biden's vaccine mandates. However, their efforts continue to be fruitless in the House and Senate due to the majority being Democrats.
In early November, Sen. Roger Marshall led 11 Republicans in issuing a threat where they promised to use every tool at their disposal to fight against the vaccine mandates, the Washington Post reported.