Republicans are weighing whether to force a government shutdown if the next federal spending plan includes funding for COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
The continuing resolution expires Feb. 18, and Republicans are circulating a letter vowing to pull support for funding the government, forcing a shutdown, Fox News reported Tuesday.
Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, is leading the effort to strip out funding tied to vaccine mandates in order to pass a continuing resolution or a federal appropriations bill to keep the government funded.
"Most Republicans say that vaccine mandates are tyrannical and foolish, but will they unite before government funding expires Feb. 18 to pledge not to fund enforcement of these mandates?" Roy asked, according to the report. "Will at least 10 of the 19 GOP senators who voted to punt last time now stand up for healthcare workers or not?
"We're going to find out."
The letter, according to the report, vows to press House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on unifying the party as it "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."
There are "myriad municipalities and states that directly benefit from federal funding" tied to vaccine mandates, including Washington, D.C., the letter reportedly added.
After the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on Tuesday withdrew its vaccine mandate on business larger than 100 employees, the Republicans' letter targets four other COVID-19 vaccine mandates "unilaterally imposed" on healthcare workers, the military, federal government employees and contractors.
"Congressional Republicans cannot continue to abdicate their Article I duties in hopes the judicial branch will rule in favor of the American people," according to the letter, Fox News reported.
"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."
The letter gives Republicans until the end of the week to sign on to the plan and there are already more than a dozen on board, including Reps. Scott Perry, R-Pa.; Clay Higgins, R-La.; Paul Gosar, R-Ariz.; and Lauren Boebert, R-Colo.
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