Sens. Ron Johnson, Rand Paul Lead Demand for Senate Vote on Ending Military COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) are leading their Republican colleagues in an effort to demand Senate Republican leaders insist on an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would end the military COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

In a letter Wednesday to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senators John Thune (R-SD), John Barrasso (RWY), and Roy Blunt (R-MO), Johnson and Paul joined 11 of their Senate GOP colleagues in voicing their opposition to forging ahead with the NDAA for the Fiscal Year 2023 without a Senate vote on an amendment that would ban discharges from the armed services due to failure to take the COVID shot.

The amendment, the senators assert, would also reinstate service members who have already been discharged for failure to take the COVID shot with back pay.

In a press conference Wednesday, Johnson called the COVID-19 shot mandate “insane” since the mRNA injection “does not prevent infection or transmission” of the virus.

“The Department of Defense COVID-19 vaccine mandate has ruined the livelihoods of men and women who have honorably served our country,” the senators wrote. “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.”

According to the letter, as of April 2022, approximately 3,400 troops have been discharged from the military for refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with the mRNA shot.

The senators observed the recruitment challenges facing the military, which they report as “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 DOD should take seriously,” they asserted, adding the nation “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.”

In addition to Johnson and Paul, the other Republican senators who signed on to the letter are:

Rick Scott (R-FL), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Mike Lee (R-UT), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Braun (R-IN), Roger Marshall (R-KS.), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Steve Daines (R-MT), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) and Josh Hawley (R-MO).

The annual NDAA authorizes U.S. Department of Defense spending levels and sets key military policy to provide equipment, supplies, and training for troops, as well as provide for military families.

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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Ron Johnson” by Senator Ron Johnson. Photo “Rand Paul” by United States Senate. Background Photo “U.S. Capitol” by Paula Nardini.




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