“They made it very clear it’s about grandstanding instead of getting something done,” she said on Monday while attending a protest of Biden’s visit to the National Interagency Fire Center. “And I want to get something done.” She also said far-right lawmakers would need support from more moderate Republicans, which collapsed during the discussion.
Far-right lawmakers have said they will hold the meeting anyway to try to get enough members to show up so they can force the Legislature to reconvene. Many Idaho Republican lawmakers are angry with the vaccine mandate that President Joe Biden announced last week. Republican Rep. Judy Boyle, one of the House’s more conservative lawmakers, said she would support a state law banning vaccine mandates but will not attend Wednesday’s gathering after she had a recent discussion with other lawmakers, whom she declined to name. “A couple of my colleagues blew that up the other night, and the moderates all fled,” she said, adding that the conservatives “messed it up.”
Biden, who visited to discuss wildfire issues with Republican Gov. Brad Little, last Thursday announced sweeping new vaccine mandates affecting 100 million Americans. The vaccine requirement states that employers with more than 100 workers must require them to be vaccinated or test them for the virus weekly.
Workers at health facilities who receive federal Medicare or Medicaid will also have to be fully vaccinated, as well as employees of the executive branch and contractors who do business with the federal government. Little can call a special session to bring lawmakers to the Statehouse. Republican House Speaker Scott Bedke and Republican Senate Pro Tempore Chuck Winder also said they can reconvene the Legislature because the House never formally adjourned earlier this year. While none are currently inclined to bring lawmakers back to Boise, the three in a joint statement Tuesday afternoon said they are working with the attorney general’s office and governor’s legal counsel to take “legal action to stop President Biden’s unprecedented government overreach into the private sector with his new COVID-19 plan.”
Bedke said Monday he wouldn’t reconvene the House unless there’s wide support for specific legislation. “No, not at this time,” he said in a text message asking him whether he would call lawmakers back to the Statehouse. The Idaho Senate Majority Caucus, comprised of the chamber’s Republican leaders, in a statement on Monday said the attempt by some House members to force the House to reconvene is not allowed under a House resolution “and is therefore unofficial and illegitimate.”
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