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tv   U.S. Senate Debate on Removing Vaccine Mandates in Gov. Funding Bill  CSPAN  December 3, 2021 5:51am-6:10am EST

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senator from utah. mr. lee: mr. president, 45 million americans -- 45 million
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hardworking moms and dads, neighbors, and friends are being threatened right now with losing their jobs. they're being threatened not due to cyclical click conditions -- cyclical economic conditions, not because jobs aren't available, not because of some war or other calamity. their jobs are being threatened by their own government, a government that has chosen to tell them that if they don't comply with a presidential medical orthodoxy, they will be fired. this is unfortunate. it's most unfortunate that this power has been exercised this way. the president doesn't have that power.
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congress hasn't given the president that power. this is not a power that belongs in the federal government to begin with. as a result of that, 45 million americans are being threatened with their jobs. they're being forced to choose between an unwanted medical procedure and losing their job. look, i want to be very clear. i've been vaccinated. my family has been vaccinated. i believe the development of the vaccines is something simplify a modern medical miracle. i am grateful for the vaccine. i think the vaccine is helping americans be safe from the effects of covid. it's not government's job. it's not within government's authority to tell people that they must be vaccinated and if they don't get vaccinated, they'll be fired. it's wrong. it's immoral. you don't tell someone that if they don't do exactly what you want them to do that they're going to lose their job. the american people
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overwhelmingly agree. in fact, according to a recent axios poll, only 14% of all americans agree with the president of the united states that if someone declines to get the jab, they should lose their job. now, this is a huge percentage of the workforce. in many states, most states, in fact, somewhere between a quarter and a third of all workers are now being faced with the possibility of losing their job because of these vaccine mandates. this at a time when americans are struggling just to put food on the table, in part because we've got a government that's spending too much money, money it doesn't have. it's churning up money, printing it, in effect, in a way that results in rampant inflation, into way that makes limited -- in a way that makes limited
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paychecks go less far, less capable of buying bread to put on the table. and amidst all of this, -- and amidst all in this government-manufactured crisis, government is making it worse, threatening it not just make that paycheck go even less far than it already does because of government, but to take it away altogether. that's not kind. that's not the neighborly way in which we like to do things. it's not moral. and it's not constitutional. look, it's tragic that this many americans have to have their jobs threatened as a result of a presidential tamper tantrum. there's nothing about it that's okay. deep down we all know that it's not okay. and, mr. president, i'll tell you there's another thing that's not okay. it's not okay that those who
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want to take away those jobs, those who are just fine with the president exercising this authority, fought tooth and nail to prevent the united states senate from taking the vote that we're preparing to take tonight. a simple vote, a simple vote that simply allows us to weigh in and decide whether or not we're going to fund that part of government, that feature of our government that's going to enforce the vaccine mandate. those in this chamber who shamefully were refusing over and over again to let us even cast a vote on that simple measure threatened to shut down all of government because they didn't want to have us have a chance, as the people's elected lawmakers, to decide whether or not we should proceed with vaccine mandate enforcement. they'd rather shut down the government and make everything
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worse than they would stand accountable for what they're doing. fortunately, this part of the story at least has a happy ending. we're going to be able to vote on that tonight. we're going to be able to vote on whether or not we fund vaccine mandate enforcement at the federal level. this is wonderful. this is fantastic. it should not have resulted in days and days of shutdown threats and days and days of deflection, accusing other people of wanting to shut down the government when all we wanted to do was have a vote, to give a chance to the hardworking mom or dad, soldier, sailor, airman or marine having -- strug to put food on the table. we can do better than this. we must do better than this. the american people deserve better than this.
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that's why i'm so glad and grateful that we'll be casting this vote tonight. but know this -- this issue is not going away. i hope with everything in me that when we cast this vote tonight that a majority of us will do the right thing and that we'll vote the way that we know we should vote; that we'll stand with those people who may lose their jobs. 31% of the workers in my state -- in other states it's higher. 39% of the workers in west virginia stand to lose their jobs. 37% of the workers in alabama, 33% of the workers in georgia. in state after state, you see
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hardworking moms and dads being threatened. this, mr. president, isn't right. it's not even authority the president has. it's not authority that the congress has. we shouldn't be doing this. deep down we all know that that's right. we also know, mr. president, that some of these problems result from the fact that when we fund the government, we made significant mistakes. as a result of the fact that we've allowed so many spending decisions to be concentrated in one vote, on one bill, such that all of government tends to be funded or none of it gets funded. sometimes the only opportunity we have to weigh in on a particular matter of public policy, one affecting 4r5 -- 45 million american workers,
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the only chance we have to do that is on a spending bill and we don't get that chance unless we agree that we will vote on an amendment on that. that should never result in a shutdown threat. when those threats are made, we should acknowledge who's making them. never once has any of us wanted to shut down government. we wanted to give the american worker a chance, a chance for us to vote for them, a chance for us to stand with them. i urge, i implore my colleagues, please join me in voting to protect the american worker. don't take away the job of hardworking americans. don't fire people because they're not inclined to adhere to presidential medical orthodoxy. please support me in this amendment. thank you, mr. president. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the
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senator from kansas. a senator: i call up my amendment 4868 and ask that it be reported by number. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment by number. the clerk: the senator from kansas, mr. marshall, for himself and mr. lee, proposes an amendment numbered 4868. the presiding officer: there will now be six minutes of debate equally divided. prior to the vote on amendment number 4868. mr. marshall: thank you, mr. president. this amendment is simple. it prohibits moneys from this bill to be used to fund or enforce the white house's covid vaccine mandates on the american people for the duration of the c.r. as a physician, i've always supported the vaccine, and i encourage americans to talk to their doctor about getting vaccinated and about the booster. but whether to receive the vaccine or not is a personal choice. it should not be mandated via
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unconstitutional executive actions that the administration acknowledged earlier this year they didn't have the authority to put in place. no precedent exists in american history for punishing private employers who don't enforce government vaccination edicts. as we all know, multiple federal courts have put a stop to the osha mandate as well as the federal contractor and c.m.s. mandates. what's more, thank goodness the white house even delayed implementing their mandate for federal workers until after the holidays. mr. president, this is an opportunity to right a wrong, for each member in this body to right a wrong. let's give employers certainty and employees peace of mind that they will still have a job this new year. make no mistake, these vaccine mandates are not about public healthy or science. if they were, the white house would recognize that 92% of americans, 92% of americans who
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have already built up immunity to this virus between vaccines and natural immunity. beside me is a photo of upset union workers i met in topeka, kansas. these are the people that keep our electricity on and our houses warm in the winter. these are hardworking americans who put their lives on the line throughout the pandemic, and tonight i'm their voice. i'm their voice, and i'm proud to be here to keep fighting for them, for their families and their right to earn a living in this greatest country in the world. tonight i ask my colleagues to join me in this fight and support our amendment and avoid an economic shutdown, avoid brownouts, further supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, higher inflation, and weakening our national security. thank you, mr. president. i yield back. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: mr. president, covid-19 has killed over 780,000 people in our country.
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this pandemic has a higher body count than any war we have ever fought in, and it's not over. we should be doing everything we can to stop this virus. we should be using every tool to keep america safe. we all know the damage this virus can do to our communities and to our economy. that is why the biden administration has taken steps to urge employers to make sure their employees are fully vaccinated or test negative for covid-19 before they come to the workplace. that's a move that's widely popular with the american people. no one wants to go to work and be worried they might come home to their family with a deadly virus. even businesses support this step. the chamber of commerce is hurnlging -- urging businesses to comply with the administration's emergency temporary standard. and perhaps more importantly it's a move that will save lives. we've seen these requirements have a huge impact.
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in fact, many businesses with vaccination requirements have seen havings rates rise well above 90%. osha estimates that the federal standard which republicans are fighting to undermine will help protect 84 million workers prevent thousands of deaths and over 200,000 hospitalizations from covid-19. i do not understand why after all families have been through, after all we have lost and all the hard work we've done to rebuild, would anyone want to throw that in jeopardy and throw away one of the strongest tools we have, to get people vaccinated, keep them safe and end this pandemic once and for all. it is senseless, it's reckless. i urge my colleagues to vote against it. and i yield the rest of my time to the senator from virginia. mr. kaine: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. kaine: i rise to support the position of might have colleague. when you're unwilling to describe something accurately, it portrays a weakness in your position.
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i've heard my colleagues complain about the vaccine mandate. it's not a vaccine mandate. it is a vaccine or testing mandate. if you don't want to get a test, if you don't want to get a vaccine, don't get a vaccine. get a test so you can go to work each week without infecting your colleagues with the deadly disease. what my colleagues are asking is that people be protected so that they can go to work with a deadly disease, infect coworkers and still get a paycheck, and still get a paycheck. if you don't want to get a vaccine, get a test. if you're unwilling to protect your coworkers, don't demand a paycheck. i urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: if you don't want to get the virus, get the vaccine. but the answer to someone not agreeing with your medical advice is not to fire you, and it sure as heck isn't to have the president of the united states fine every employer in america that doesn't want to do this, whether they have religious objections or otherwise. this is wrong. we know it's wrong.
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we can stop this right now. please join me in opposing and taking down and refusing to fund for the duration of this continuing resolution, that part of government charged with enforcing this immoral, indefensible, unconstitutional, and illegal mandate.
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