U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville joined colleagues in an effort to secure a provision in the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to protect servicemembers from the Biden administration’s controversial COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The NDAA was passed last night in the Senate.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) led a group that included Sens. Tuberville, Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi), Mike Braun (R-Indiana), Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska), Joni Ernst (R- Iowa), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Steve Daines (R-Montana), John Hoeven (R-North Dakota), and Jim Risch (R-Idaho) in a joint statement after helping to successfully secure the provision protecting the servicemembers from the mandate in the 2023 NDAA.
“In the United States, the number of new servicemembers joining the military is reaching a near record low,” the Sens. wrote in a joint statement. “The United States needs a strong military to protect our country against the growing threats facing our nation. We are pleased that the final conferenced bill includes language mirroring our amendments’ efforts to protect troops from being fired due to Biden’s COVID vaccine mandate without fair appeal and to the harm of service readiness.”
Tuberville has expressed concerns about the historically low military recruitment numbers; and how the COVID-19 vaccination requirements for service members is affecting the military’s ability to recruit and retain personnel. Tuberville has repeatedly addressed these concerns to top U.S. Department of Defense officials and called for hearings on the issue.
“Only nine percent — only nine percent — of young people even want to serve,” Tuberville said in a recent Senate hearing with DoD officials. “That’s a small, small pool. Faith in our military has collapsed. I’ve reviewed the list of speaking engagements for senior leaders at the Pentagon and could find no trace — zero — of anyone speaking publicly about recruiting. The leaders of our military. But there were plenty of speeches on climate change, pride month, and global water security. What is going on here?”
Additionally, Sen. Tuberville has helped introduce two pieces of legislation, Preserving the Readiness of Our Armed Forces Act and Stop Firing Our Servicemembers Act, to push back against the Biden administration’s mandates.
The Preserving the Readiness of our Armed Forces Act would prohibit the involuntary dismissal of a service member for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine until each military service achieves its authorized end strength; while the Stop Firing our Servicemembers Act would prohibit federal funds from being used to require a member of the National Guard to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
The NDAA is a bipartisan bill that sets the goals for the U.S. military each year.
Tuberville is in his first term representing the state of Alabama in the U.S. Senate.