Senate Republicans on Thursday blasted President Biden’s plan to dishonorably discharge active-duty military personnel who refuse to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
The White House is still firm about its vaccine requirement for military personnel and has increased the likelihood that troops could be seperated under the most extreme terms.
“Next week is Veteran’s day, a day when we stop, that this country pauses, and to honor our veterans,” Senator Roger Marshall, Kansas Republican, said. Instead, our president chooses to discredit military active duty officers by forcing their separation from the military and then pushing for a dishonorable discharge .
These remarks were made after more than 8 ,000 Active-duty Air Force and Space Force members missed Tuesday’s vaccine deadline.
Service members may face “administrative and non-judicial punishment” [under UCMJ], which could include relief from duties or discharge, for refusing to receive the vaccine as per Pentagon guidance published in August.
In September, Marshall introduced legislation to stop the Pentagon giving dishonorable discharges to service personnel who refuse the vaccine. The bill is being sponsored by Mr. Marshall by ten Republicans.
But President Biden stood by the guidance that could lead to severe penalties for troops.
” To enable uniformed forces to fight with discipline, commanders need to be able to give orders and to take appropriate disciplinary actions,” stated the White House in a statement.
“President Biden wants heroes to become felons,” Marshall stated Thursday at a press conference. “That’s his policy… Consider the consequences of a dishonorable dismissal… You would lose access to the G.I. You would have to pay more for education. Your VA home loans and VA medical benefits would be lost. This is a serious issue. It will make our country less secure .”
Republican Senators. In Thursday’s press conference, Mr. Marshall was joined by Rick Scott of Florida and Kevin Cramer from North Dakota.
Mike Berry, the general counsel of First Liberty Institute, joined the lawmakers. Berry represents close to 40 Navy SEALs and is seeking religious exemptions from the vaccine mandate.
” This is a critical time in the nation’s history, Mr. Berry stated. We should expect that all of our Navy SEALs and other service personnel are capable of fighting for this country and defending it from threats from China, North Korea and Iran. Instead, they fight for their livelihoods and their career. This is un-American, and it’s wrong
The majority of those who missed the Air Force deadline this week — almost 5 ,000 soldiers — had applied to religious exemptions that were not yet approved by the service. More than one ,600 exemption has been approved by the service on administrative or medical grounds.
The Air Force has seperated 40 trainees and junior recruits who were discharged under less severe, entry level conditions. However, it will take weeks to determine the best way forward for senior personnel who refuse to be vaccinated.
The Pentagon urged unit commanders earlier this week to show compassion and understanding when dealing with service members who refuse the vaccine.
Active-duty Coast Guard, Navy and Marine Coast Guard members face deadlines this month. They will be followed by Army soldiers, December.