Republican lawmakers are calling on the Biden administration to end a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for servicemembers ahead of approving the United States’ military budget.
The COVID-19 vaccine was added to a list of shots servicemembers are required to get last year, in addition to other vaccines such as polio and influenza.
“Our obligation is to defend the fighting men and women of the military, and so I'm standing with my colleagues. I believe we will have 41 Republicans who say we will not vote to take up the National Defense Authorization unless this body votes on protecting the servicemen and women,” said Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
There have been previous efforts to eliminate the COVID-19 mandate in the military. A bill was introduced late last year that was co-sponsored by over 90 Republican members of the House. That bill was not taken up by the Democratic-held House.
The annual National Defense Authorization Act generally gets strong bipartisan support. Last year’s defense bill passed the Senate by an 88-11 margin. It also passed the House with a 363-70 margin.
Last year’s bill provided $778 billion for military use. This year’s bill would be about $847 billion.