Senator Mike Braun (R-IN), who is heading a congressional fight against President Joe Biden’s proposed federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates, said Wednesday he is against state-level efforts to block businesses from imposing their own workplace vaccination requirements.
Braun, who owns a Jasper-based auto parts distribution company, told reporters he didn’t believe in government mandates requiring or prohibiting actions by businesses.
The Senate narrowly passed a resolution sponsored by Braun late Wednesday to nullify the vaccine mandates.
The vote was 52-48. The Democratic-led House is unlikely to take the measure up, which means the mandate would stand, though courts have put it on hold for now. Still, the vote gave senators a chance to voice opposition to a policy that they say has sparked fears back home from businesses and from unvaccinated constituents who worry about losing their jobs should the rule go into effect.
“Individuals and businesses should have that decision to make on their own,” Braun said. “I understand the desire to do it. I’m a little apprehensive on that happening simply because of what it might mean to where you try to impact businesses in their own decisions on other issues down the road.”
That stance puts Braun at odds with many Republican state lawmakers who are backing a measure that would force Indiana businesses to accept broad exemptions for religious or medical reasons from employees to any workplace vaccination requirements. An effort for fast-track approval of that prohibition failed last month, but an Indiana House committee is set to hold a public hearing on it Dec. 16 and the Legislature could take action on it once the new legislative session starts Jan. 4.
Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb has opposed limiting the actions of private employers and several business and medical groups have argued against it.