The U.S. Senate voted late Wednesday to block President Joe Biden’s proposed covid-19 vaccine mandate for private businesses, a move that’s largely seen as symbolic since the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives is unlikely to take up the issue and the White House has the power to veto the legislation even if it did.
The vote was 52 to 48, with all Republicans voting for the measure, and two pro-pandemic Democrats, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, joining the death cult formerly known as the Republicans.
Republican governors went absolutely ballistic back in September when President Biden first announced plans for the mandate, with some calling it “un-American,” “dictatorial,” and an “assault on private businesses.” But in reality, it’s just smart public health policy.
“The American Dream has turned into a nightmare under President Biden and the radical Democrats. They have declared war against capitalism, thumbed their noses at the Constitution, and empowered our enemies abroad,” Gov. Henry McMaster from South Carolina, tweeted back in September.
“Rest assured, we will fight them to the gates of hell to protect the liberty and livelihood of every South Carolinian,” McMaster continued.
Seriously. The gates of hell.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer compared Republican anti-vaccine activists to Flat Earthers when the legislation was being debated.
“Some of the anti-vaxxers here in this chamber remind me of what happened 400 years ago when people were clinging to the fact that the sun revolved around the Earth. They just didn’t believe science. Or 500 years ago when they were sure the Earth was flat,” Schumer said, according to a transcription by NPR.
As NPR notes, a majority of the American public supports vaccine mandates, with 68% of people in the U.S. supporting Biden’s requirement that any company with 100 employees or more make sure their workers are vaccinated, according to a Gallup Poll. The employees can also opt to get tested regularly in lieu of vaccination.
The U.S. reported 149,386 new cases of covid-19 on Wednesday and 1,833 deaths, with both numbers going on the wrong direction in recent days. The seven-day average for new daily infections is 120,609.
American vaccination rates for covid-19 are more or less at a standstill, with just 60.1% of the population fully vaccinated against the disease. That’s one of the lowest vaccination rates in the world among wealthy countries. Even Germany, which has struggled with anti-vaccine sentiment just as much as the U.S., currently has a vaccination rate of 69.19%, according to Johns Hopkins University’s online coronavirus tracker.