Senator Scott, Republican colleagues still pushing for anti-vaccine mandate vote before NDAA

Kentucky senator leads group to block military funding vote over vaccine mandate
Kentucky senator leads group to block military funding vote over vaccine mandate(DC Bureau)
Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 2:45 PM CST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The future of the U.S. military budget hangs in the balance in Washington this week. The crucial funding package is stalled as the parties negotiate over a vaccine mandate. Senate Republicans want to get rid of the vaccine mandate currently in place for military personnel.

“We have individuals that have been kicked out for not getting the vaccine and that’s wrong,” said Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.).

Scott is one of a number of Republicans still pushing for a vote on an amendment that would get rid of the mandate instituted in 2021. The amendment also calls for reinstating those discharged under the mandate, and giving them back pay.

Scott and his colleagues are holding out on voting for the full, usually bipartisan, National Defense Authorization Act until their amendment gets a vote.

“If you want to make sure that we have readiness, then what you ought to do is take care of the military men and women,” said Scott.

Scott is convinced the amendment will pass if Senate leaders bring it up for a vote, but it would need Democratic support.

The Biden Administration is still sticking by the mandate, which came about after the Food and Drug Administration fully approved a COVID-19 vaccine over a year ago.

“The COVID vaccination requirement was put in place to keep our service members safe, and healthy, and prepared for service,” said Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has been warning about the dangers of delaying funding from Congress, as international pressures continue to mount, particularly from Russia and China.

“These next few years will set the terms of our competition with the People’s Republic of China, and they will shape the future of security in Europe, and they will determine whether our children and grandchildren inherit an open world of rules and rights,” said Secretary Austin.

Scott notes he does plan to vote on the full NDAA when it comes up for a vote. The timeline for voting on the amendment or the final package is currently unknown.