Republicans, led by Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), told the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin should 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 And if he does not comply with that directive, his waiver to serve as Secretary of Defense would automatically be repealed,” Johnson said. “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 detailed the detriment the vaccine mandate has caused the military, in terms of retention and recruitment, noting that out of 22,000 applications for a religious exemption to the vaccine, only 58 had been granted. Also, “more than 40% of males aged 18 to 24 have chosen not to become fully vaccinated in the U.S. and as a result, they are ineligible to join the military. So right off the bat 40% of the target demographic for military service is in fact eligible to serve now… The mandate is forcing qualified people out of the force, and it’s preventing qualified people from joining the force.” So far, the Pentagon has discharged more than 5,000 service members who have chosen not to be fully-vaccinated.
Democrats — and RINO Rep. Liz Cheney — voted down the amendment.