House Minority Leader and nominee for Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) declared on Sunday that if Joe Biden does not lift the COVID-19 vaccine mandate applicable to military personnel, the national defense bill will not be approved.
In an appearance on Fox News Network’s “Sunday Morning Futures,” McCarthy told host Maria Bartiromo that negotiations are ongoing regarding the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that funds America’s military.
He said House Republicans “will secure lifting that vaccine mandate on our military” as part of the NDAA negotiation. McCarthy noted that because of Biden’s mandate, “they’re kicking out men and women that have been serving.” He described lifting the mandate as “the first victory of having a Republican majority.”
White House spokesperson Olivia Dalton confirmed on Saturday that the administration is considering removing the vaccine mandate based on discussions with McCarthy. She said Biden has discussed the matter with McCarthy and is considering it, even though the Secretary of Defense has recommended leaving the mandate in place.
Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) confirmed Saturday that House Democrats are seriously considering removing the mandate to get the NDAA put together and approved. He said, “We haven’t resolved it, but it is very fair to say that it’s in discussion.”
BREAKING: I’m told that the upcoming Defense bill to include McCarthy demand to *repeal* the COVID vaccine mandate for military
This comes after McCarthy pressed Biden on this at White House
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) December 1, 2022
McCarthy told Bartiromo that when he met with Biden last week, he “laid out very clearly what the difference will be with the new Republican majority.”
When Bartiromo asked McCarthy to confirm that the NDAA set to be approved in the coming week will lift the mandate, he responded, “Yes, it will. Otherwise, the bill will not move.”
He added that the NDAA is the “first sign of having divided government, you got some compromise here. And we’ve got something that Republicans have been working very hard on, and a number of Democrats too, trying to find success.”
McCarthy said that before last month’s midterm elections, “one-party rule would never allow that to go forward.”
More than 20 GOP governors wrote a joint letter to Biden last week calling for the military vaccine mandate to be lifted. They said that the rule has impaired recruiting efforts by the U.S. National Guard and has damaged America’s defense readiness. Governors of the states have the authority to activate the National Guard in their states in emergency responses to natural disasters or domestic unrest.
The Army, Navy, and Marine Corps have discharged more than 7,500 servicemembers for refusing to accept the experimental jabs.