Republicans in the House of Representatives recently unveiled legislation aimed at ensuring that soldiers will be able to continue to serve our country despite refusing to get COVID-19 vaccines.
The new act is sponsored by Republican U.S. Representative Chip Roy of Texas and is known as the Service Restoration Act. It says that federal funds cannot be used to require armed forces members to get the vaccines, nor can adverse action be taken against members of the armed forces simply because they were unwilling to get vaccinated.
The bill goes on to call for soldiers who have already been discharged for refusing to get the vaccine to be reinstated to the same rank they held before their involuntary separation. It also stipulates that their last pay must be restored, their time separated from the military must count toward their retirement benefits, and any references to the incident must be expunged from their service records.
In a statement on the legislation, Representative Roy said: “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.”
“This is strategically foolish, profoundly un-American, and completely unacceptable,” he added.
Many service members have seen themselves being punished or released from the service after U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin directed the secretaries of every military branch to achieve full vaccination of all armed forces members in August. He set deadlines throughout November and December for most branches, while Army Guards and Reserves were given until June 2022 to get on board. Hundreds of service members described as “battle-ready” have already been separated from the Armed Forces.
Around 30,000 troops have still not received the vaccine and are unlikely to do so. More than 20,000 of these have been trying to obtain religious or medical exemptions. Although some have been successful in obtaining exemptions for non-religious reasons, religious exemptions have been few and far between despite the fact that the jabs were developed and tested using fetal cells taken from aborted babies. According to The Epoch Times, the Marine Corps and the Air Force are the only two military services to grant religious accommodations; the Marine Corps has only allowed three so far.
In December, the military started to discharge soldiers who have not complied with the mandate. Last month, however, a U.S. District Judge granted a preliminary injunction that bars the administration from enforcing the mandate among Navy Seals who have religious objections to the jabs. U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled that there is “no Covid-19 exception to the First Amendment” and “no military exclusion from our Constitution.”
Unfortunately, however, many service members have alleged that the Navy is instead subjecting Seals to other types of punishment and coercion.
Although the military has long required soldiers to get vaccines against a broad range of diseases because of the exotic locations where many soldiers serve in close quarters, previous vaccines have generally undergone significantly more development and evaluation.
The Service Restoration Act is certainly a gesture welcomed by those serving in the military who do not want to get the vaccine, as well as all Americans who appreciate their service and do not want to see America’s finest being forced into taking risky jabs. However, it is unlikely to become law, at least not while the Democrats are still controlling Congress and Biden is still in the White House. Nevertheless, the legislation is bringing attention to this serious problem that poses a risk to our nation’s ability to defend itself, especially as Russia appears poised to invade Ukraine.
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