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United States Sen. Joe Manchin holds a little more power than most in the Senate due to his unwillingness to go along with every Democrat Party priority. And while Manchin voted to prevent a government shutdown on Thursday night, he made it clear how he feels about President Joe Biden’s COVID vaccine mandates.

“I do not support any government vaccine mandate on private businesses,” Manchin said. “That’s why I have cosponsored and will strongly support a bill to overturn the federal government vaccine mandate for private businesses. I have long said we should incentivize, not penalize, private employers whose responsibility is to protect their employees from COVID-19.”

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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked for her thoughts about Manchin’s statement at Friday’s press briefing.

“One, it’s ‘vax or test,'” Psaki said. “And obviously, that is something we feel we have every authority to do based on a 50-year-old law that Congress put into place 50 years ago. We simply disagree. We disagree based on what we feel is a preponderance of evidence of the effectiveness of requirements, vaccinating or testing.”

Psaki said the private companies, as well as the federal government, are putting requirements in place for a “range of reasons.”

“It creates certainty, it allows people to feel safe in the workplace and it’s good for the economy,” she said. “So, we disagree on that front. And we’re going to continue to press forward with these requirements.”

Should Manchin join Republicans in an effort to defund the mandates, Psaki said the White House would have discussions with him and anyone else opposing the requirements.

“It’s obviously in the courts now,” she said. “It is a good sign — no question — that companies are doing this in the private sector. But we still feel, at this point in fighting the virus, it’s important to move forward with these requirements.”

Author: Jacob Hall

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