Republicans, led by Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), on Wednesday called for Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to be fired if he does not repeal the Biden administration’s coronavirus vaccine mandate for troops.
“My amendment is simple. It would require the Secretary to repeal his COVID vaccine mandate within 30 days. And if he does not comply with that directive, his waiver to serve as Secretary of Defense would automatically be repealed,”Johnson spoke to the House Armed Services Committee in a session that marked up the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act. This law authorizes Pentagon expenditures and activities.
“There’s a lengthy list of things that have gone wrong. Undersecretary Austin’s tenure at the Department of Defense, perhaps not more damaging than the requirement that service members subject themselves to the COVID vaccine,”Johnson agreed.
The amendment was defeated by Democrats. They were joined by one Republican — Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY).
These are the results of the mandate for military vaccination:
Army reduces 12K positions
40 percent of 18-24-year-old males are not eligible to join the military
Only 58 of the 22K religious exemptions are granted
— Rep. Mike Johnson (@RepMikeJohnson) June 22, 2022
Johnson outlined the negative effects that the mandate to vaccines has had on the military’s retention and recruitment.
Out of over 22,000 applicants for religious exemption to vaccines, only 58 were granted. These numbers are from May. Only a few dozens of additional exemptions have been granted since then. Legislators have also found evidence that they only are being granted to military personnel who have already left the service.
Johnson said that the vaccine mandate was also hurting the Army’s recruitment and retention of troops, with the Army asking to cut 12,000 soldiers from its 2023 fiscal budget:
Why? More than 40% of 18-24-year-old males have opted not to get fully vaccinated in America. This makes them ineligible for military service. This means that 40% of the targeted population for military service are now eligible.
My region in the USA, the southeast, is where DoD recruits around 50% of their enlistments. However, more than half of the nation’s male population haven’t received the vaccine. It’s not hard to see where all this is headed. The mandate is forcing qualified people out of the force, and it’s preventing qualified people from joining the force.
More than 5,000 non-vaccinated service personnel have been discharged by the Pentagon so far.
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