Senate votes against reinstating military members removed over COVID-19 vaccine mandate

 December 16, 2022

The Senate voted against a measure to reinstate military personnel who were kicked out over refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

The 54-40 vote needed at least 60 votes in order to pass, with most Democrats opposing the measure.

The situation

"Negotiators agreed to end the military’s coronavirus vaccine mandate through the NDAA, despite President Joe Biden and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin's continued support for the mandate. The mandate has already resulted in the separation of thousands of service members," the Washington Examiner reported.

"Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) were among the leaders of conservatives who hoped to get the roughly 8,400 service members who had been discharged for refusing the vaccine reinstated. Opponents of the measure, which include the Pentagon and many Democratic lawmakers, argue that those former service members violated a direct and lawful order," it added.

The opposition

“The service members who refuse to do that and who were discharged from service, that’s the way it has to work in the military. Orders are not optional in the United States military,” Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), the outgoing chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said.

“And if Congress expresses the opinion that they are, I cannot imagine anything that would more significantly undermine the good order and discipline within our military," he added.

Though more than 98% of soldiers took the vaccine, those who objected have been the target of mistreatment that has included ongoing controversy.

The legal challenges from officers have continued to no avail, with those refusing the vaccine removed from duty despite objections due to religious or other accommodations.

The recent NDAA bill ended the mandate for future officers, but does nothing to help those who have already been impacted.

The latest weak move by Democrats in the Senate shows that politics continues to take the lead over military readiness, leaving those who serve our nation with their support.

The decision could have dire consequences on military recruitment, which is already at concerning levels over the vaccine issue.

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