Mandates and Debt Ceiling, the Senate Gets Two Major Pieces of legislation Passed
On Thursday, the Senate was able to get not one, but two pieces of legislation passed that you will want to know about. The first has to do with the debt ceiling and the other has to do with the OSHA vaccine mandate.
The Debt Ceiling
The Senate has cleared the way to avoid a federal government debt default with the help of 14 Republicans. Earlier in the week, Republicans and Democrat Senate leadership made a difficult deal that would allow one party to raise the debt ceiling on their own on a one-time basis. In other words, raising the debt ceiling will now only require 51 votes instead of the traditional 60. In order to make that happen, a bill had to be passed to actually allow it.
That bill has already passed the House, and now it has passed the Senate with a vote of 64–36. The 14 Republicans who voted yes were:
- Sen. Buraso
- Sen. Blunt
- Sen. Burr
- Sen. Capito
- Sen. Collins
- Sen. Coryn
- Sen. Emst
- Sen. Minority Leader McConnell
- Sen. Murkowski
- Sen. Portman
- Sen. Romney
- Sen. Thune
- Sen. Tillis
- Sen. Wicker
All that is left now is for the House and Senate to pass a bill that raises the debt ceiling by a specific dollar amount. This bill would allow the debt ceiling to be raised as late as January 15, but the Treasury Secretary says that we could hit our current debt ceiling by Wednesday. It is likely that the determination of the dollar amount and all of the votes will go down this week.
The Vaccine mandate
The other move made in the Senate involved the President’s OSHA vaccine or testing mandate. On Thursday night, they passed legislation that would block the mandate from taking effect on January 4. Just to note, the OSHA mandate would require all businesses with more than 100 employees to be vaccinated or tested weekly.
The bill was passed by a vote of 52–48. Two Democrats, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana, joined all Republicans in voting yes for this bill. Normally legislation in the Senate would take 60 votes to pass. However, because of a Senate procedure that allows them to review and revoke federal agency regulations, they only needed a simple majority to pass this bill.
Even though this bill passed the Senate, it still has to go to the House, where it is expected to fail. In fact, it is not expected to even come up for a vote. Even if it does pass, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the President would veto the bill.
It is important to remember that the OSHA vaccine mandate is still working its way through the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. While that case is still going on, the mandate is paused nationwide, meaning that it can’t go into effect as long as the case is ongoing.