Scoop: Conservatives plot government shutdown over vaccine mandate

Capitalizing on a last-minute scramble to fund the government, a group of Senate conservatives is planning to object to quick consideration of a stopgap measure to extend funding into early 2022 unless Democratic leaders agree to deny money to enforce the mandate. Because of the tight schedule — and Senate rules that require unanimous consent to move quickly — the senators believe they’ll be able to drag out the process well past midnight Friday, when funding officially expires.

“I’m sure we would all like to simplify the process for resolving the CR, but I can’t facilitate that without addressing the vaccine mandates,” Sen. MIKE LEE (R-Utah) told Playbook in a statement. “Given that federal courts across the country have raised serious issues with these mandates, it’s not unreasonable for my Democratic colleagues to delay enforcement of the mandates for at least the length of the continuing resolution.”

It is unclear how many Senate conservatives are publicly willing to follow through on the shutdown threat. But 15 signed a letter spearheaded by Sen. ROGER MARSHALL (R-Kan.) in early November vowing to “use all means at our disposal” — including invoking Senate procedures to gum up the works — to block passage of a continuing resolution that doesn’t stop implementation of a vaccine mandate. Technically, all they need is one senator to object in order to push past Friday’s midnight deadline, and several are already discussing this issue.