Republicans in the Senate have threatened to block the National Defense Authorization Act unless a vote is held on the current COVID vaccine mandate for military personnel.
The effort is being headed up by Florida Senator Rick Scott and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, along with 11 other senators, including Ted Cruz and Mike Lee.
As a veteran & member of @SASCGOP, I fully support our military & have fought hard for big nat'l security wins in the NDAA. But, before this bill moves forward, we must stand with our military members & reverse the @DeptofDefense's COVID vax mandate. U.S. readiness depends on it. pic.twitter.com/DoRgn5cJZh— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) November 30, 2022
Scott told Fox News “I think on the NDAA one thing that’s going to be important is that we don’t give cloture unless they agree that we’re not going to keep kicking people out of the service for their – if they’re unvaccinated,” adding “I think that we’ve got to start standing up for people.”
In a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Senators state “The Department of Defense COVID-19 vaccine mandate has ruined the livelihoods of men and women who have honorably served our country.”
“While the Department of Defense certainly must make decisions that will bolster military readiness, the effects of the mandate are antithetical to readiness of our force, and the policy must be revoked,” the letter further states.
I’m opposing moving forward on the NDAA unless the Senate votes on an amendment to prohibit discharges from the Armed Forces solely because of vaccination status. The amendment will also reinstate service members already discharged w/ back pay. Read more: https://t.co/ejcYF64Koa pic.twitter.com/4qa3Gu74r4— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) November 30, 2022
During a press conference, Paul stated “The vaccination mandate has forced our nation’s young patriotic men and women to choose between their faith, their medical autonomy and their careers.”
“At a time when the military is struggling to meet targets for recruitment, the administration is firing soldiers we invested in and trained,” Paul further noted.
For five decades now, the NDAA has been viewed as vital legislation for Congress each year, covering spending for the military, including the annual pay raise and new program starts.
Despite attempts to stop mandatory vaccines for active duty personnel, and to uphold exemption rights, the Biden administration has continually pushed for dishonourable discharges and even court martialing for troops who disobey orders to get the shots.
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