Latest effort in series of actions to push back against Biden administration’s executive overreach
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) joined his Senate Republican colleagues in sending a letter asking Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to provide information on the number and nature of military discharges for not receiving a COVID vaccine. Senator Tuberville has been a strong opponent of the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for members of the military and defense contractors, citing the mandate as both unconstitutional and a great risk to our military readiness. Reports show that more than 1,700 service members have been discharged for their COVID vaccination status, and many are being denied retirement or other service benefits as a result. The letter reads in part,
“While we are deeply troubled that the Department of Defense (DOD) is discharging U.S. military personnel as a result of their COVID-19 vaccination status, we are outraged that these brave men and women are potentially being stripped of various benefits, including education benefits afforded to them under the G.I. Bill. Whatever disagreements public officials of varying ideologies and political parties may have, we can and should agree on the importance of ensuring the promises made to members of our Armed Forces are fulfilled.”
Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Mike Braun (R-IN), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), John Hoeven (R-ND), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), James Lankford (R-OK), Rand Paul (R-KY), James Risch (R-ID), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Roger Marshall (R-KS) joined Senator Tuberville in signing onto the letter.
For full text of the letter here.
Dishonorably discharged U.S. service members surrender the following rights and benefits:
- Ownership of firearms or ammunition
- Access to the G.I. Bill for further education
- VA home loans
- VA medical benefits
- Military Funeral Honors
- Re-enlistment in another military branch
In October, Senator Tuberville sent a letter to Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) Chairman Jack Reed (D-RI) requesting a hearing to review the impact of the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates on U.S. national security. Senator Tuberville also sent a letter to President Biden strongly urging the administration to reverse course on the implementation of their vaccine mandate for federal defense contractors, citing concerns about the loss of expertise and efficiencies, the impact on DoD’s supply chain, and the difficulties small and medium-sized defense contractors would have complying with guidance that is ever-changing due to mandates. In November, following pressure from Senator Tuberville and Republicans, the Biden administration announced “flexibly” in their policy. In December, a federal court blocked the enforcement of President Biden’s executive order.
Watch Senator Tuberville speak about his actions to push back on vaccine mandates for defense contractors here.
Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.