GOP Vow to Block Military Funding Unless Vax Mandates Are Lifted

Republicans are leading a charge to block the ‘National Defense Authorization Act.’

  • Republicans are warning they will block the National Defense Authorization Act unless a vote is held to do away with the current COVID-19 vaccine mandate for military personnel.
  • Florida Senator Rick Scott and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul are leading the charge which is also backed by 11 other senators, including Texas’ Ted Cruz and Utah’s Mike Lee.
  • 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 from the minority leader’s office, the lawmakers said: “We oppose invoking closure on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023, unless the Senate votes on a single amendment to (1) prohibit the involuntary separation of a member of the Armed Forces based solely on a service member’s COVID-19 vaccination status and to (2) reinstate those who may have already been separated with back pay. We respectfully request that the Senate Republican leadership whips the question.”
  • “The Department of Defense COVID-19 vaccine mandate has ruined the livelihoods of men and women who have honorably served our country. As o 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.”
  • “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. The military also faces challenges with recruitment. Military recruitment is reportedly down 23% from annual targets. Therefore, due to costs and recruiting challenges, losing thousands of troops due to their vaccination status is a readiness issue that the Department should take seriously.”
  • The letter ended with the Republicans saying, “We respectfully request that the Senate vote to remedy a policy that adversely affects our service members and our national security.”
  • Twenty-one Republican governors recently signed a letter also opposing vaccine mandates for military members.
  • The letter calls on lawmakers “to take immediate action to remove and prohibit the Biden Administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate on members of the U.S. Armed Forces, issued by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on August 24, 2021 — either through the National Defense Authorization Act or a standalone bill.”