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Conservative Republicans reportedly plot government shutdown over vaccine mandate with Friday deadline looming

Conservative Republicans are privately plotting to force a partial government shutdown Friday in an effort to defund the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate on the private sector, Politico reported Wednesday, citing multiple GOP sources.

Current funding expires Friday at midnight, and without a stopgap budget, the government would partially shut down — potentially resulting in furloughs for hundreds of thousands of federal workers, delayed tax refunds and economic data, and shuttered national parks and monuments.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican, predicted Tuesday there would not be a shutdown. The House of Representatives had been expected to vote as early as Wednesday on a stopgap budget, but a top Democrat reportedly said a vote won’t happen today amid a disagreement with McConnell over a funding date.

The Politico report says that a group of Senate GOP conservatives is planning to object to quick consideration of a continuing resolution, or CR, to extend funding into early next year 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, senators believe they’ll be able to drag out the process well past midnight Friday, Politico wrote. Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah told the publication, “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.”

Read more: Congress faces shutdown deadline, hurdles for Biden’s Build Back Better plan

At least one longtime former Capitol Hill GOP aide, meanwhile, said he didn’t expect a shutdown.

U.S. stock benchmarks
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advanced Wednesday in the wake of the the prior session’s selloff, which was blamed on expectations for faster Federal Reserve tapering as well as worries surrounding the omicron variant of coronavirus.


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