A recent Senate resolution is calling for the formal end of President Biden’s federal employee vaccine mandate since the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
Senator James Lankford (R-OK) introduced the resolution (S. Res 828) which notes that in September, Biden said during an interview that the pandemic is over. The resolution also states that “COVID–19 cases and hospitalizations have decreased by more than 75 percent and reported COVID–19-related deaths have decreased by almost 90 percent.”
During the interview, the president said, “The pandemic is over. We still have a problem with Covid. We’re still doing a lot of work on it. It’s – but the pandemic is over.”
Consequently, the Senate resolution states that Biden “should remove all COVID–19 vaccine, testing, masking, and social distancing requirements on all Federal employees, servicemembers, and contractors.”
It further adds that federal employees who were disciplined or had their duties restricted because of not getting the vaccine should now be allowed to resume their duties without any limitations.
The resolution also says that any military service members who were relieved or discharged from duty because of their vaccination status should be reinstated.
“Biden has declared that the pandemic is over—so his overreaching vaccine mandate on federal workers, service members, and government contractors should be over as well,” said Lankford.“ Each individual American should be able to make their own health decisions and not fear they will lose their job if they do not agree with the President’s vaccine mandate.”
Status of the Federal Employee Vaccine Mandate
According to the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force website, the vaccine mandate is currently not being enforced because of ongoing litigation in the courts. Lawsuits were filed over the vaccine mandate when it was first introduced, and an injunction was issued that prevented the federal government from continuing to enforce the mandate.
The website notes:
To ensure compliance with an applicable preliminary nationwide injunction, which may be supplemented, modified, or vacated, depending on the course of ongoing litigation, the Federal Government will take no action to implement or enforce the COVID-19 vaccination requirement pursuant to Executive Order 14043 on Requiring Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination for Federal Employees.
At the time the injunction was issued, the White House had said that about 98% of the federal workforce was in compliance with the vaccine mandate.
Ultimately the future of the vaccine mandate lies in the hands of the courts.
What is a Senate Resolution?
According to the United States Senate website:
Simple resolutions are designated H.Res. and S.Res., followed by a number. A simple resolution addresses matters entirely within the prerogative of one house, such as revising the standing rules of one Chamber. Simple resolutions are also used to express the sentiments of a single house, such as offering condolences to the family of a deceased member of Congress, or it may give “advice” on foreign policy or other executive business. Simple resolutions do not require the approval of the other house nor the signature of the president, and they do not have the force of law.
Even if the Senate were to pass the resolution, it will not have the force of law behind it.
Text of Senate Resolution 828
October 11, 2022
Mr. Reed (for Mr. Lankford) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Recognizing the end of the COVID–19 pandemic for Federal employees, servicemembers, and contractors.
Whereas, on September 18, 2022, President Biden said
the pandemic is over;
Whereas, since January 2021, in the United States, reported COVID–19 cases and hospitalizations have decreased by more than 75 percent and reported COVID–19-related deaths have decreased by almost 90 percent; and
Whereas, as of June 2022, 6,137 servicemembers had been discharged from service due to non-compliance with the COVID–19 vaccine requirement: Now, therefore, be it
That it is the sense of the Senate that—
- the President should remove all COVID–19 vaccine, testing, masking, and social distancing requirements on all Federal employees, servicemembers, and contractors;
- all members of the Armed Forces who chose not to receive the COVID–19 vaccine and were relieved or discharged because of that choice should be reinstated and allowed to perform the same duties that those individuals performed before being so relieved or discharged; and
- all Federal employees and contractors who chose not to receive the COVID–19 vaccine and were disciplined or restricted in their duties in any way because of that choice should be allowed to resume their typical duties without limitation.