U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., has joined 13 other U.S. Senators in threatening to oppose the FY2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) due to COVID-19 vaccination requirements for members of the military.
The senators are urging colleagues to vote on an amendment to prohibit discharges from the Armed Forces solely because of vaccination status.
If passed, the amendment would also reinstate service members already discharged with back pay. As of this April, roughly 3,400 troops have been discharged from the military for refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
“The Department of Defense’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate has ruined the livelihoods of men and women who have honorably served our country. While the Department of Defense certainly must make decisions that will bolster military readiness, the effects of the mandate are antithetical to the readiness of our force, and the policy must be revoked,” the senators wrote. “The United States simply cannot afford to discharge our brave men and women in uniform and lose the investments we have made into each and every one of them due to an inept bureaucratic policy. We respectfully request that the Senate vote to remedy a policy that adversely affects our service members and our national security.”
With military recruitment reportedly down 23 percent from annual targets, the senators blame the military vaccine mandate for wasting recruitment and training costs, and contributing to missed recruitment targets.