Republican Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson introduced legislation Friday that would protect military servicemembers seeking religious exemptions from President Joe Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for the military.
The Daily Caller first obtained the legislation, titled the AMERICANS Act. Despite the Biden administration announcing a process to allow military servicemembers to apply for a medical or religious exemption from the vaccine mandate, Johnson says the Department of Defense (DOD) has not been clear on its messaging to personnel affected by the mandates, nor on how they can get proper waiver approvals.
The bill would specifically modify the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to make sure all discharges that had to do with COVID-19 vaccination status are on record as honorable discharges. The bill, if passed, would allow a servicemember who was forced to temporarily leave service for not getting the COVID-19 vaccine to seek reinstatement and remove records related to any involuntary separation because of the COVID-19 vaccine from their record.
The AMERICANS Act would also require the secretary of defense to try to keep unvaccinated personnel moving forward. Also, the bill would require the DOD to submit a report to Congress on religious exemption requests, as well as how many appeals were submitted and how many appeals were ultimately approved.
“President Biden’s military vaccine mandate is plainly unconstitutional and clearly unworkable. According to the data we have from DOD, only 58 religious-based exemption requests have been granted—out of approximately 22,000 applications,” Johnson told the Daily Caller before introducing the legislation. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Chip Roy Demands Answers From FDA Over Push To Approve COVID Vaccine For Infants, Toddlers)
READ THE BILL HERE:
“The Army Reserve and Army National Guard have yet to publish any exemption information at all. I’m proud to stand for the religious freedom rights of our servicemembers,” Johnson added. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Clyde, House Republicans Introduce Legislation To Block Future OSHA Vaccine Mandates)
A number of House Republicans have introduced legislation to put an end to vaccine and mask mandates. In late September, a group of House Republicans introduced a bill that would prohibit federal agencies from implementing vaccine mandates.
The Daily Caller contacted the DOD and the White House about the bill and keeping the vaccine mandates for military servicemembers. They did not immediately respond.