The Senate passed an $858 billion defense bill on Thursday.
In the bill, the COVID vaccine mandate for members of the US military was rescinded.
A bill to rescind the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for members of the U.S. military and provide nearly $858 billion for national defense passed the Senate on Thursday and now goes to President Joe Biden to be signed into law.
The bill provides for about $45 billion more for defense programs than Biden requested and roughly 10 percent more than last year’s bill as lawmakers look to account for inflation and boost the nation’s military competitiveness with China and Russia. It includes a 4.6 percent pay raise for servicemembers and the Defense Department’s civilian workforce.
The Senate passed the defense policy bill by a vote of 83-11. The measure also received broad bipartisan support in the House last week.
To win GOP support for the 4,408-page bill, Democrats agreed to Republican demands to scrap the requirement for service members to get a COVID-19 vaccination. The bill directs Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to rescind his August 2021 memorandum imposing the mandate.
But what about the soldiers discharged for refusing the vaccine?
GOP Senator Ron Johnson attempted to put an amendment to the bill that would reinstate military members that were discharged for not getting the vaccine.
Four RINOs voted against it.
RINOs Mitt Romney, Mike Rounds, Bill Cassidy, and Susan Collins were all no votes. The amendment failed.
Four Republican senators voted Thursday against reinstating military members who were discharged for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Mitt Romney of Utah, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, and Susan Collins of Maine voted against Republican Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson’s amendment that would have reinstated and provided backpay to military members discharged for refusing to get vaccinated.
Johnson sought to amend the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, which passed the Senate, 83-11, Thursday night. Though this amendment failed, Republicans were able to include a provision in the NDAA that halts the Department of Defense from forcing service members to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The brave men and women who serve in the military deserve better than this.