FederalTexas Congressman Draws Red Line Over Vaccine Mandates for Government Spending

GOP lawmakers say that they will not support any government spending that helps enforce COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
February 7, 2022
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With several of the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates still in effect — such as those affecting members of the military, federal contractors, and healthcare workers — Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) is calling on lawmakers to block government spending that funds the enforcement of those mandates.

Roy, along with 48 other Republicans in Congress, sent a letter to the GOP leadership in each chamber pledging to refuse consideration of “any federal government funding vehicle [. . .] that funds the enforcement of COVID-19 vaccine mandates at any level of government.”

The letter comes in advance of February 18, 2022, the date through which the federal government is currently funded thanks to two continuing resolutions (CRs) that were passed by Congress last fall.

According to the top-ranking Republican in the Senate Appropriations Committee, Congress is headed toward passing another stop-gap measure to continue funding the government without any shutdowns.

Republicans like Roy — who also expressed frustration with the national debt surpassing $30 trillion — don’t want to see that funding continue to support the COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

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During a House floor speech on Friday, Roy explained his position, saying, “[W]hen members of this body or the United States Senate vote for a continuing resolution — I want every American to listen to me — when they vote for a continuing resolution to fund government, they are voting to fund the enforcement of vaccine mandates that are causing our men and women in uniform to be forced out of service, to be discharged.”

Members of the Texas delegation who signed Roy’s letter include Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-TX-01), Dan Crenshaw (R-TX-02), Lance Gooden (R-TX-05), Ronny Jackson (R-TX-13), Randy Weber (R-TX-14), Pete Sessions (R-TX-17), Troy Nehls (R-TX-22), Michael Cloud (R-TX-27), Michael Burgess (R-TX-26), and Brian Babin (R-TX-26).

Other Republican members from Texas who did not sign onto the letter have likewise expressed opposition to funding the enforcement of vaccine mandates, though.

“As a vocal opponent of vaccine mandates, I have led a number of efforts to extinguish this unconstitutional overreach, including leading the Texas Delegation in an Amicus Brief,” Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX-19) told The Texan in a statement. “Funding vaccine mandates is just one of a thousand terrible policy provisions that would compel me to vote against a government spending bill, and I am confident every Republican in the Texas Delegation feels the same.”

The office of Rep. August Pfluger (R-TX-11) told The Texan, “No continuing resolution should fund the unconstitutional vaccine mandate.”

The office of Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX-25) stated, “Congressman Williams has long and publicly opposed unconstitutional vaccine mandates and attempts from the federal government to override personal medical decisions. He does not sign letters on every individual issue he disagrees with in a spending bill.”

The offices of Reps. Van Taylor (R-TX-03), Pat Fallon (R-TX-04), Kevin Brady (R-TX-08), Granger (R-TX-12), Tony Gonzales (R-TX-23), Beth Van Duyne (R-TX-25), and John Carter (R-TX-31) did not respond to a request for comment.

With the sharp partisan divide in Congress, Republicans and Democrats — especially in the House — have voted largely at odds on the previous continuing resolutions to fund the government.

In September, the only House Republican from Texas to vote in favor of the CR was Gonzales. But in December — when discussion about the funding of vaccine mandates was also at the forefront — all GOP representatives from the Lone Star State voted against the measure.

Meanwhile in the Senate, Cruz voted against both CRs while Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) voted in favor of both.

Cornyn told reporters then that he opposed attempts to stop vaccine mandate enforcement at the cost of a government shutdown, saying, “Why would we make ourselves, you know, the object of public attention by raising the specter of a government shutdown?”

Roy predicted that when the end of the current government funding rolls around, lawmakers will “come down here on the floor with some forced, last-minute CR, and then each side will go out and give their talking points about how the other side’s priorities are wrong.”

“I’m going to take every step I can in the next fourteen days to make everyone up here in Washington understand: if you vote to fund this government without stopping the vaccine mandates, you’re voting for those vaccine mandates being applied to doctors, healthcare workers, our men and women in uniform, federal contractors, border patrol — all of those people that are serving publicly trying to serve their country,” said Roy.

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Daniel Friend

Daniel Friend is the Marketing and Media Manager for The Texan. After graduating with a double-major in Political Science and Humanities, he wrote for The Texan as a reporter through June 2022. In his spare time, you're likely to find him working on The Testimony of Calvin Lewis, an Abolition of Man-inspired novel and theatrical podcast.