WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) – In the latest shot against the bow of the Biden administration, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives unveiled legislation this week to ensure soldiers can continue to serve after refusing a COVID-19 vaccine.
“No Federal funds may be used to require a member of the Armed Forces to receive a vaccination against COVID-19,” reads the Service Restoration Act, sponsored by Republican U.S. Rep. Chip Roy of Texas. “The Secretary concerned may not take any adverse action against a member of the Armed Forces solely on the basis that such member refuses to receive a vaccination against COVID-19.”
The bill also calls for any soldier previously discharged for COVID vaccine refusal to be reinstated “ in the grade held by such covered individual immediately before the involuntary separation of the covered individual,” with any lost pay restored as well as expungement of their service records.
“Because of President Biden’s power-hungry, anti-science COVID-19 vaccine mandate, hundreds of valuable American service members are being forced out of our military, taking with them years of subject-matter expertise, careers of selfless sacrifice, and lifelong dreams of military service,” Roy said of the measure, The Epoch Times reported. “This is strategically foolish, profoundly unAmerican, and completely unacceptable.”
In August, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin directed the secretaries of all military branches to “immediately begin full [COVID] vaccination of all members of the Armed Forces” and “impose ambitious timelines for implementation.” The deadlines are November 2 for the Air Force, November 28 for the Navy and Marine Corps, December 15 for the Army, December 28 for the Navy and Marine Corps Reserves, and December 2 for the Air Force Guard and Reserves. Army Guard and Reserves have until June 2022.
The vast majority of service members have complied, but more than 30,000 troops remain unvaccinated, with over 20,000 seeking religious exemptions or medical exemptions, or simply refusing to comply. Several thousand have secured exemptions for non-religious reasons, but the military has been largely unwilling to approve religious exemptions to the shots, which were developed and/or tested with the use of fetal cells from aborted babies. In December, the military began discharging soldiers for noncompliance.
Last month, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor granted a preliminary injunction barring the administration from enforcing the mandate against Navy SEALs with religious objections to the shots, ruling there is “no Covid-19 exception to the First Amendment” and “no military exclusion from our Constitution.” But the religious freedom law firm First Liberty alleges that the Navy is subjecting the SEALs to other forms of punishment and coercion for their noncompliance.
While defenders of vaccine mandates are quick to point out that the military has long required soldiers to vaccinate against a range of diseases due to the harsh and exotic locales soldiers are sent to for extended periods of time and the close quarters they typically share with one another, previous vaccines were typically subjected to far more evaluation and development time before being put into widespread use than the COVID shots received during their accelerated clinical trials.
During a COVID-19 vaccine hearing held by Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin last month, attorney Thomas Renz presented medical billing data from the Pentagon’s Defense Medical Epidemiology Database (DMED) showing that 2021 saw drastic spikes in a variety of diagnoses for serious medical issues over the previous five-year average, including hypertension (2,181%), neurological disorders (1,048%), multiple sclerosis (680%), Guillain-Barre syndrome (551%), breast cancer, 487%), female infertility (472%), pulmonary embolism (468%), migraines (452%), ovarian dysfunction (437%), testicular cancer (369%), and tachycardia (302%).
In a statement to left-wing “fact-checking” outlet PolitiFact, Defense Health Agency’s Armed Forces Surveillance Division spokesperson Peter Graves confirmed the existence of the records but claimed that a conveniently-timed “data corruption” glitch made the pre-2021 numbers appear far lower than the actual numbers of cases for those years, an explanation PolitiFact took at face value.
The Service Restoration Act is not expected to become law while Joe Biden remains in the White House and Democrats control Congress. But the legislation could be a tool to highlight the issue and the parties’ dueling positions on it going into the 2022 midterm elections.