A coalition of Republican House leaders is calling for an immediate ban on taxpayer funds being used to implement the Biden administration's vaccine mandate for military members, warning that the requirement "will devastate morale and destroy our military readiness."
Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) and 14 Republican colleagues on Tuesday wrote to House Appropriations Committee leaders to request that the committee "prohibit funding for the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for active-duty, reserve, and national guard military personnel" allocated in the fiscal year 2022 budget. Issa and his colleagues say the mandate could force some 50,000 active-duty military members out of the service, endangering the country's national security as potential wars brew in Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. So far, several hundred active-duty military members have been booted from the service for their refusal to get the vaccine.
Issa and his colleagues urge House appropriators to "pause implementation" of the vaccine mandate as the committee finalizes the country's 2022 budget. "It is essential that we set the record straight and remind our men and women in uniform we support them and will provide the resources they need to do their sworn duty," the lawmakers write, according to a copy of the letter obtained exclusively by the Washington Free Beacon.
With Democrats in control of the House, appropriators are likely to continue funding the vaccine mandate despite Republican opposition.
Every vaccine mandate issued by the Biden administration has in recent months been either halted or struck down by federal courts—except for the mandate that affects the military. Lawmakers say they are being deluged with calls from service members who risk being kicked out of the military as a result of the mandate. The Free Beacon reported last week that the Marines have granted just three religious exemption requests out of thousands, fueling concerns that the military is not properly assessing these requests in its rush to see all service members take the vaccine.
"Hundreds of service members and their families have reached out to our offices about the direct impact of this mandate, their careers of service, and toll on their families," the lawmakers write.
The lawmakers say that as the mandate remains in place, requests for religious or administrative exemptions are being denied, effectively "ending careers and giving us clarity as to the full damage this mandate will have on the military."
"If continued, this mandate will devastate morale and destroy our military readiness and weaken our national security posture," the lawmakers write. "With serious challenges emerging around the world, and an ill-prepared administration at the helm, a purge of this nature is especially troubling."