WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — Republicans scored a tepid win Thursday as they successfully passed legislation to roll back the military vaccine mandate but stopped short of compelling the Pentagon to commit to the reinstatement and full compensation of the thousands of service members kicked out for refusing the shots.
House Republicans notched the long-awaited victory through the passage of the $858 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the House’s annual defense funding bill. In this year’s iteration of the bill, Republicans stripped out the military-wide jab mandate that had been imposed by the Biden administration last summer.
“The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will include a provision repealing the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for service members.” https://t.co/uiN05x7L9R #FoxNews
— Ben Brown (@BenBrownTweets) December 6, 2022
Pages 407 and 408 of the NDAA now require that “No later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense shall rescind the mandate the members of the Armed Forces be vaccinated against COVID-19 pursuant to the memorandum dated August 24, 2021, regarding ‘Mandatory Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination of Department of Defense Service Members.’”
Though led by Republicans, the amended NDAA racked up substantial bipartisan support, passing with a 350-80 vote. The measure will need to clear the U.S. Senate before landing on Biden’s desk for a signature.
The House’s decision to pull the military jab mandate has been celebrated as a crucial GOP win and could provide security for the roughly 60,000 service members who have faced potential termination for bucking the mandate. However, it doesn’t go nearly as far as many conservatives had hoped.
READ: Tens of thousands of Army Reservists, National Guardsmen face discharge for refusing COVID shots
Conservative commentators and leaders, including former U.S. President Donald Trump, have called for the full reinstatement of fired military members with back pay in addition to the rollback of the mandate.
Trump, who announced his 2024 presidential run last month, has repeatedly promised to reinstate and award compensation to fired military members in his rally speeches, saying Republicans must “abolish all COVID mandates and lockdowns and rehire every patriot who was fired from the military with an apology and full back pay.”
The NDAA as passed, however, doesn’t require the Biden administration’s military to reinstate the thousands of U.S. military members who have been discharged due to their vaccine status, Breitbart reported.
Nevertheless, the Daily Wire pointed out that language in the bill does require military leaders “to find a means of compensating service members punished for refusing to be vaccinated.”
RELATED: Attorney accuses Department of Defense of ‘illegal acts’ in mandating COVID jabs
House Republicans themselves have observed the need for tougher legislation to reverse punishment of military members who have opted not to get the jabs for a variety of reasons ranging from concerns about the jabs’ safety and efficacy to ethical reservations about the use of cells from aborted babies in the shots’ development.
GOP leader Kevin McCarthy of California announced he has advised the Biden administration that “it’s time to end your COVID vaccine mandate on our military & rehire our service members.”
“The end of the mandate is a victory for our military & for common sense,” McCarthy said on Twitter.
Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie similarly said the “[n]ext steps” following the passage of the amended NDAA will be to “end all COVID vax mandates (healthcare workers and foreign visitors) and reinstate all members of military wrongfully terminated due to vax.”
The military COVID vaccine mandate will end!
Page 407 & 408 of NDAA text just released.
Next steps: end all COVID vax mandates (healthcare workers and foreign visitors), and reinstate all members of military wrongfully terminated due to vax.https://t.co/hRVftUh6yl pic.twitter.com/o8noBxngGe
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) December 7, 2022
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has made no secret of its objection to the Republicans’ provision to scrap the mandate, CNBC noted.
On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre argued the decision to strip out the jab mandate was a “mistake.”
Jean-Pierre ducked a reporter’s questions Wednesday about whether or not Biden plans to sign the bill, saying the president will “look at the NDAA in its entirety and make his judgment on that.”