Republicans consider shutting down government over vax mandate

Letter making its way around the Hill as Feb. 18 federal funding deadline approaches

FIRST ON FOX: Several Republicans are considering shutting down the government if the next funding bill includes money for federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Fox News Digital exclusively obtained a letter signed by a growing number of Republicans, led by Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, pledging to pull support from government funding legislation that includes language giving funds for vaccine mandates.

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 Texas

Rep. Chip Roy speaks during the House Judiciary Committee markup session in the Rayburn Building on May 18, 2021. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Inc via Getty Images)

Roy told Fox News Digital in a Tuesday statement 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."

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy criticizes the Democrats' $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill on Capitol Hill, Feb. 24, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In a letter, Republicans plan to tell House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., 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."

The lawmakers plan to take aim at the "myriad municipalities and states that directly benefit from federal funding" as a result from the vaccine orders, including in Washington, D.C.

They also point 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.

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."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters after a Republican strategy meeting at the Capitol on Oct. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

"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 are planning to say.

"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 continue.


The letter is making its way around the Hill this week as the Feb. 18 federal funding deadline approaches, and lawmakers have until the end of the day Friday to sign on.

There are already over a dozen signers, including GOP Reps. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Clay Higgins of Louisiana, Paul Gosar of Arizona, and Lauren Boebert of Colorado.