In a letter to Republican leaders on Wednesday, Senate Republicans including Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Rick Scott (R-FL) demanded a vote to repeal the military’s coronavirus vaccine mandate.
The letter, sent to Senators John Thune (R-SD), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), John Barrasso (R-WY), and Roy Blunt (R-MO), requests that the Senate hold off on passing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the Fiscal Year 2023 until the military vaccine mandate is repealed.
It says, in part:
“We oppose bringing the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 to a close except if the Senate votes on a single revision to (1) prohibit involuntary detachment of a member of the military solely based on a service member’s COVID-19 vaccination status and (2) reinstate all those that may already have been detached with back pay. We humbly request that the question be whipped by the Senate Republican leadership.”
“The Defense Department COVID-19 vaccine requirement has destroyed the livelihoods of men and women that have honorably served this country,” they continued, indicating that “approximately 3,400 troop shape have been dismissed from the military for refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as of April 2022.”
“While the Department of Defense must undoubtedly make decisions that would strengthen military preparedness,” they concluded, “the implications of the requirement are antagonistic to our force’s readiness, and the policy must be rescinded.”
“The U.S. just cannot afford to dismiss our courageous men and women in uniform and forfeit the investments we have made in each of them because of incompetent bureaucratic policies… We humbly request that the Senate vote on this critical issue that has a negative impact on our service members and national security.”
Senators Scott and Paul were joined by Mike Lee (R-UT), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Mike Braun (R-IN), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Steve Daines (R-MT), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), and Josh Hawley(R-MO) in signing the letter.
Despite President Biden proclaiming the outbreak “over” in September, the Pentagon stated that the vaccine order would be enforced.
Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) stated in September that “over 100,000 active servicemembers—who Americans paid to train—face discharge during our military’s worst recruiting year in history.”
Notably, during his 2024 presidential announcement address, former President Trump stated that he will “abolish every Biden COVID-19 mandate and also rehire every patriot that was sacked from our military and include an apology and full back pay.”
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