A group of House Republicans, led by Alabama Rep. Barry Moore, sent a letter Tuesday to the Department of Defense (DOD) calling on them to reconsider its vaccine mandate after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed its guidelines for the unvaccinated.
In the letter, first obtained by the Daily Caller, Moore and nine other Republicans tell the Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin that the military is struggling to meet its recruitment goals and that the Army will likely fall 19,000 soldiers short of its target for the fiscal year of 2022. They argue that since the CDC’s guidance has changed so much, the DOD should likewise change its guidance for vaccinations.
On Aug. 19, 2021, Austin directed the military to “immediately begin full vaccination of all members of the Armed Forces under DoD authority on active duty or in the Ready Reserve, including the National Guard, who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19.”
On Aug. 11, 2022, the CDC updated its COVID-19 guidance to ease recommendations for unvaccinated people who have been exposed to COVID-19, guidelines which are very similar to the recommendations for those who are vaccinated. The lawmakers state their issues with the current mandate in the letter.
Forty thousand National Guard and 22,000 Army Reserve troops are not currently allowed to participate in military training and federally funded drills, and will also not receive pay or retirement credit. The Pentagon is requiring all military service members to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“With updated CDC guidance for the unvaccinated, the Department of Defense’s final fig leaf justifying its purge of patriots for refusing vaccination has been stripped away. During a time of global turmoil and missed recruitment targets reaching the level of a national security crisis, the military has absolutely no justification for sacrificing readiness in favor of virtue signaling and the appeasement of this administration’s political base,” Moore told the Daily Caller before sending the letter.
“The military vaccine mandate must end, and all our service members so cruelly separated due to this disastrous policy must be rehired with full backpay,” Moore added. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Johnson Vying To Get Biden Admin To Clear More Military Members Of Vaccine Mandate)
READ THE LETTER HERE:
The letter was signed by South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan, Illinois Rep. Mary Miller, Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, Missouri Rep. Vicky Hartzler, Virginia Rep. Ben Cline, Texas Rep. Randy Weber, Florida Rep. Bill Posey, Florida Rep. Greg Steube, and Florida Rep. Byron Donalds.
A number of House Republicans have introduced legislation to put an end to vaccine and mask mandates. In late September 2021, a group of House Republicans introduced a bill that would prohibit federal agencies from implementing vaccine mandates. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: US Military Might Lose $4 Billion Due To Pentagon’s COVID Vaccine Mandate, According To Rep. Gaetz)
The Daily Caller contacted the DOD about the letter, to which they did not immediately respond.