Republicans demand an end to military vax mandate; push Pentagon to reprioritize, purge woke polices

Congressional Republicans are threatening to block this year’s passage of the National Defense Authorization Act unless several key demands are met.

One key demand is for the Biden administration’s military COVID vaccine mandate to be jettisoned.

Specifically, Sens. Rick Scott, Rand Paul, Lindsey Graham, and several others are demanding the Democrat-controlled Senate vote “on an amendment to prohibit discharges from the Armed Forces solely because of COVID-19 vaccination status.”

The amendment would also reinstate any service member who was let go because of the mandate.

In a letter sent Wednesday and addressed to top Senate leaders, the group of Republicans warned that the mandate has weakened the U.S. military.

“The Department of Defense COVID-19 vaccine mandate has ruined the livelihoods of men and women who have honorably served our country. As of April 2022, approximately 3,400 troops have been discharged from the military for refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19. 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,” they wrote.

“The United States simply cannot afford to discharge our brave men and women in uniform and lose the investments we have made into each and every one of them due to an inept bureaucratic policy. While training costs vary between each service, the Army, for example estimates it spends $15,000 in recruiting costs to bring someone into the service and another $50,000 to $75,000 to prepare them to join their first unit, depending on their job,” they added.

That’s a lot of money being flushed down the toilet for a mandate that critics say is wholly unnecessary given how much the pandemic has receded.

The Senate Republicans also held a press conference Wednesday:

“The Biden administration’s vaccination mandate has forced our nation’s young patriotic men and women to choose between their faith and their career, between their medical autonomy and their career,” Sen. Paul said at the presser.

“Congress should take action, and we’re taking action today by saying we will not vote to get on the NDAA, the defense authorization bill, unless we have a vote on ending this military vaccine mandate,” he added.

The second demand, this one made by several House Republicans, is for an end to “woke” Pentagon policies.

In a separate letter sent earlier in the week to top House Republicans, Reps. Chip Roy, Andy Biggs, Bob Good, and Barry Moore argued that such policies “are divisive and undermine the primary purpose of the NDAA, which is to provide our brave service members the resources they need to defend our country.”

“[T]he NDAA should not authorize a single dollar for green climate projects nor radical diversity, equity, and inclusion indoctrination measures. It is imperative that provisions advancing a radical social agenda are removed before the NDAA moves forward,” they wrote.

The assertion was based on a report released last month by Rep. Roy and Sen. Marco Rubio that exposed “how the Biden Administration is deliberately weakening our nation’s military by injecting woke, anti-American ideology into it.”

Like their peers in the Senate, Reps. Roy, Biggs, Good, and Moore also called for an end to the military vaccine mandate.

“[T]he NDAA must immediately end the DoD’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for service members. President Biden declared on September 19, 2022, that ‘the pandemic is over.’ The COVID-19 vaccine does not prevent transmission or infection of the virus,” they wrote.

“The DoD forcing out tens-of-thousands of service members will continue to undermine our military readiness and hamper future recruiting efforts for years to come. Our brave men and women in uniform should not have to choose between following their sincerely held religious beliefs and serving their country,” they added.

Continuing their letter, the House Republicans additionally called for the NDAA to “not amend the Military Selective Service Act (MSSA) to require young women to register with the Selective Service,” and for the NDAA to include “measures that will prohibit the authorization of U.S taxpayer dollars to carry out the Department of Defense (DoD) memorandum entitled ‘Ensuring Access to Reproductive Health Care.'”

Signed in October by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the memorandum authorized an abortion travel fund for military members to use to obtain an abortion in case their state has outlawed abortions.

“The DoD’s decision to bypass Congress to – among other harmful measures – establish an abortion travel fund for service members and their families flies in the face of nearly half a century of bipartisan consensus to respect the sincere beliefs of millions of pro-life Americans by restraining the federal government from using taxpayer dollars to fund most abortions,” the House Republicans wrote.

“This clear political maneuver from DoD will further undermine Americans’ trust in the U.S. Armed Forces and further hamstring future military recruitment efforts and it must be addressed,” they added.

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