As the text of the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was finally released on Tuesday, it was resolved that Republicans garnered enough support from Democrats to force the Biden administration to end the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for military personnel. Advocates for servicemembers and their families hailed the bill as a hard-fought victory for medical freedom.
The relevant language in the bill provides that the Secretary of Defense must “rescind the mandate that members of the Armed Forces be vaccinated against COVID-19” within 30 days of the enactment of the NDAA.
More than 8,000 service members have been involuntarily discharged from the military due to the vaccine mandate imposed by the Biden administration. At least 60,000 more were at imminent risk of discharge for refusing to receive the jabs.
Thousands of the members refusing the vaccine filed official paperwork requesting a religious exemption to the mandate. However, almost all of them were summarily rejected. The way the military handled the exemption requests had brought a warning from the Pentagon Inspector General’s Office.
Even as Joe Biden recently said he might consider agreeing to lift the mandate, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin reportedly refused to budge on leaving it in place.
Now that the bill’s final text has been published, it must still be approved by the House and Senate before being sent to Biden for his signature. Biden is expected to sign the essential bill for military funding now that it has bipartisan support from the House and Senate Armed Services Committees.
The military COVID vaccine mandate will end!
Page 407 & 408 of NDAA text just released.
Next steps: end all COVID vax mandates (healthcare workers and foreign visitors), and reinstate all members of military wrongfully terminated due to vax.https://t.co/hRVftUh6yl pic.twitter.com/o8noBxngGe
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) December 7, 2022
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) hailed lifting the mandate as a big win for military families and future recruiting. He also said that Congress’s next move will be to “reinstate all members of the military wrongfully terminated due to vax.”
Air Force Master Sergeant Nick Kupper said in a press statement to Breitbart News that he is “very relieved for my fellow brothers and sisters in arms as this will save roughly 70,000 careers.” He echoed the sentiment of Rep. Massie in expressing his disappointment that the act does not yet “repair the damage that has been done to the 8,000+ service members, and their families, who were kicked out over this ill-formed mandate.”