GOP senators seek vote to end military vaccine mandate

A diverse group of Republican senators are pushing hard to end the Biden administration’s military vaccination mandate and to reinstate discharged service members with back pay.

The effort is led by Sens. Rand Paul (KY), Rick Scott (FL), Lindsey Graham (SC), Mike Lee (UT), Ted Cruz (TX), Ron Johnson (WI), Mike Braun (IN), Roger Marshall (KS), Tommy Tuberville (AL), Marco Rubio (FL), Steve Daines (MT), Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS) and Josh Hawley (MO).

On Wednesday, the group sent a letter to Senate Republican leaders advising them that they would oppose advancing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes spending for the Pentagon if they were getting a vote on an amendment to the bill that would end the mandate and reinstate demobilized troops with back pay.

The NDAA is the primary vehicle for Congress to make changes to Pentagon policy once a year.

Paul, Graham, Lee, Johnson, Braun and Cruz held a press conference Wednesday to discuss their efforts.

“Our young men and women in the military deserve better. The Biden administration’s vaccination mandate has forced our country’s patriotic young men and women to choose between their faith and their career, between their medical autonomy and their career. At a time when the military is struggling to meet its recruiting goals, the Biden administration is laying off the soldiers we have invested in and trained in,” Paul said.

Paul said they have 20 Republican senators on board so far and need 21 more senators to stop a closure vote on the NDAA. He said that so far, no one from the Republican Senate leadership has supported them, which could scare other Republican senators from joining them.

“It’s something people want. It’s something our soldiers want. It’s something worth fighting for. And I hope our leaders will support that,” he said. declared.

President Joe Biden talks to soldiers and their families during the Friendsgiving dinner with service members and military families as part of the White House Force Unification Initiative at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point a day after his 80th birthday in Havelock, North Carolina, United States on November December 21, 2022. (Photo by Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Members of the Republican leadership include Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Whip Sen. John Thune, Republican Conference Speaker Sen. John Barrasso, and Committee Chairman of Republican politics, Senator Roy Blunt.

Graham said it was the first time he had voted against closing the NDAA.

“It is literally insane to chase men and women from the army at a time when we have recruitment shortages because of our refusal to take this vaccine. At the same time, millions of people have entered the country legally without vaccination and are sent by our own government all over the country. It’s not lost on most people,” he said.

He added: ‘I will not vote to get this bill unless we have a vote to change this policy. It’s something I’ve never done before. So it makes no sense to me to lay off thousands of people…at a time when we need to recruit more people into the military.

Lee noted that a Coast Guard member facing release was recently praised by President Joe Biden for his rescue efforts during Hurricane Ian, as reported by Breitbart News.

“These are people we rely on to protect us, protect us and defend us,” Lee said. “Keep in mind that there are people who have genuine religious concerns to get it. There are other people who have pre-existing medical conditions based on other things they have reacted to in the past. . Uh, and there are others who have acquired natural immunity. Is this really a hill worth dying for? I think not.”

Johnson, who led efforts to overturn the mandate, cited statistics on people who have suffered injuries from vaccines.

“To date, there have been 32,220 deaths, reported to VAERs [Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System] associated with the vaccine, more than 1.4 million adverse events,” Johnson said. “People who are hesitant either for religious reasons or simply based on the limited data that we get from our health officials, they have a reason to want to defend their own personal freedom, their own personal autonomy in health and decide not to do this.”

He also suggested that the Biden administration was violating its own order by giving the military vaccines not approved by the FDA. “To date, I have not received any confirmation from the FDA that fully FDA-approved vaccines are being administered to our service members,” he said.

According to Johnson, about 8,000 members of the military have been discharged during the vaccination mandate and another 17,000 are awaiting some resolve on their religious exemption claims.

Braun said the military vaccination mandate is one of the top two issues he hears about from his constituents.

NORTH MIAMI, FL - MARCH 09: US Army soldiers from the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division prepare Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate people at Miami Dade College North Campus on March 09, 2021 in North Miami, Florida. Soldiers deployed to assist the Federal Emergency Management Agency at the state-run, federally supported COVID-19 Community Vaccination Center. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

U.S. Army soldiers from the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division prepare Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate people at Miami Dade College’s North Campus on March 09, 2021, in North Miami , in Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

“It’s the government gone mad,” he said. “Yes, the NDAA is sacrosanct here. Sooner or later you have to start using something when the reason is strong enough to make sure you get something that needs fixing and not just to get along,” he said.

Scott said that as a Navy veteran he had taken many vaccines, but this one is different.

“I took pictures when I was in the Navy – I can’t remember a single picture I took that had the significant health issues that it has, or something that came to light so quickly that there were warrants on it. … We must recognize that our military men and women have rights, not just our commander-in-chief. So I think we have to make sure we listen to them and stop this. We have to stop. We must prohibit involuntary separation. We must restore the arrears of these people,” he said.

Cruz said he suspected the warrant was part of an effort by the Biden administration to purge conservatives from the military.

“I think they use it as an excuse from the enlisted level all the way up to the majors and the colonels all the way up to the senior ranks,” he said.

“If you’re concerned about the dangers of a woke military, if you’re concerned about Biden’s Department of Defense ordering servicemen and women to stop using pronouns…it’s intertwined with the policy of consisting to try to kick out the army anyone who dares to disagree,” he said.

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