Usual suspects: Four GOP senators ‘skip town,’ deny amendment to defund Biden’s federal vaxx mandate

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In a 65-27 vote, the Senate passed yet another continuing resolution to fund the federal government through March 11, averting a government shutdown ahead of a Friday night deadline.

“We have kept the government open. It took some work, especially when the Senate rules lend themselves to delay and obstruction. Still, I thank Senators Leahy and Shelby, as well as Leader [Mitch] McConnell, for helping us get this done,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said after the measure passed.

A group of Republican senators, led by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah., pushed an amendment introduced by Lee that would defund President Biden’s vaccine mandate for medical workers, military personnel, federal employees and contractors for the length of the CR, according to The Hill — the Supreme Court ruling blocking the Occupational Safety and Health Administration vaccine mandate for large employers did not apply to these workers.

The amendment failed 46-47, with four Republican senators not present to vote: Sens. Mitt Romney, (Utah), Jim Inhofe (Oklahoma), Lindsey Graham (South Carolina), and Richard Burr, (North Carolina).

As The Hill noted, the upper chamber, which is split at 50-50, started the day with two GOP senators absent, Burr and Graham. Three Democrats were also absent: Sens. Ben Ray Luján (Calif.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), and Mark Kelly (Ariz.). It’s also noteworthy to point out that two Democrats, Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., voted to defund the private employer vaccine mandate in December.

With Romney and Inhofe joining their absent GOP colleagues, Republicans were denied a potential majority to pass Lee’s amendment — the idea of McConnell not wanting to risk a potential government shutdown under the belief it would be political disadvantageous lurked amid the unfortunate turn of events.

What’s more, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, forewarned his party NOT to leave town well ahead of the eventual vote on the CR.

“NO REPUBLICAN SENATOR should leave town this afternoon,” he tweeted. “Schumer is panicking right now because Dems WILL LOSE THE VOTE on my amendment & @SenMikeLee amendment to BLOCK BIDEN’s VACCINE MANDATES & BLOCK MANDATES ON KIDS. The only way Dems win the vote is if Rs skip town. Don’t!”

But skip town is what four of them did, apparently.

U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, responded to the development in a tweet that named the four GOP senators, adding, “No excuses – they should all be shamed. Now – EVERY @SenateGOP should be held accountable for voting to fund this government. Watch, count the votes, then act.”

Here’s a sampling of other responses to the story from Twitter:

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