COMPASS: Senate Republicans vote to defund vaccine mandate, debt ceiling gets added to NDAA?

December 6th, 2021

Good afternoon from Capitol Hill. Rest in peace Bob Dole, Senate dealmaker, three time presidential candidate, and war hero who dedicated his life to public service.

The House and Senate are in session this week. Both chambers passed a continuing resolution last week, meaning that they’ve put the government funding deadline behind them, at least until February, when DC will revisit the exact same fake chaos and act like it’s a surprise. (You can see the breakdown of the vote in the House here, and the Senate here.)

Thanks to the efforts of Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kansas) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the Senate voted to defund President Biden’s vaccine mandate as part of that funding package. The vote failed along party lines, 48-50. Two Republicans, Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Ala.) were not present.

The Senate will likely also take up a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act this week to formally disapprove of Biden’s vaccine mandate. Under the CRA, Congress has the right to block regulations if a disapproval regulation can pass both chambers and be signed by the president. If this effort happens to pass the Senate, it will still need to pass the House and be signed by President Biden.

Congress may also broker a deal this week to pass the National Defense Authorization Act — and raise the debt ceiling at the same time. Though Republicans have, for months, been urging Democrats to raise the debt ceiling on their own as part of their larger reconciliation vehicle (which does not need Republican votes to pass), it appears that the leadership of both chambers and the Armed Services committees are attempting to add it to the must-pass NDAA.

Politico is reporting that Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell has agreed to the deal in theory. McConnell has previously stating his conference would not again help Democrats raise the debt ceiling — but if the debt ceiling is included in the NDAA, it will require the assistance of Republicans to pass it. However, it is unknown where House minority leader Kevin McCarthy stands on the deal.

Finally, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization last Wednesday. I summarized the argument for The Spectator.. While it is always tempting to read too much into oral arguments, Stewart’s relentless focus on the legal standing of Roe and Casey and the imperative of state sovereignty for issues at the intersection of changing science, morality, theology, and medicine — over and above ideological arguments for or against abortion — seemed to compel the Court’s conservative majority. You can listen to the oral arguments here.

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One More Thing…

If you haven’t caught up on CPI senior fellow Cleta Mitchell’s podcast on election integrity, “Who’s Counting,” catch new episodes here.