Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. helped secure a major win as part of his longstanding effort to protect American servicemembers from Joe Biden’s COVID-19 punitive vaccine mandate. Thanks to steadfast advocacy by Senator Marshall during his first two years in the Senate, the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), legislation critical to American military preparedness, includes a provision that halts the Department of Defense (DOD) from forcing servicemembers to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The Biden Administration should be ashamed of how unfairly they treated our troops over this vaccine. The lives of so many patriotic families have been turned upside down after they were discharged from service at the hands of Joe Biden,” said Senator Marshall. “There’s not enough science to support a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for America’s troops – some of the healthiest individuals in our nation. With the number of new servicemembers joining the military reaching record lows, Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate has significantly diminished our military’s ability to carry out crucial missions across the board. I’m proud of our work to end President Biden’s cruel mandate and will not rest until those who were discharged receive back pay and an opportunity to rejoin the military.”
Background on Ending Military Vaccine Mandates through the NDAA:
So far in 2022, the Department of Defense has dismissed approximately 8,000 active-duty servicemembers for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, an estimated 37,000 National Guardsmen and 22,000 Reserve soldiers who refused COVID-19 vaccination were suspended from service, and stripped of their military benefits and pay.
Specifically, the amendment to the NDAA championed by Senator Marshall prohibits involuntary separation of a servicemember for refusal of the COVID-19 vaccine until each Service achieves its authorized end strength.
Last week, Senator Marshall and 12 of his colleagues wrote a letter to Senate Republican leadership expressing opposition to moving forward with the NDAA unless the Senate votes on an amendment to prohibit discharges from the Armed Forces solely because of COVID-19 vaccination status. This effort was successful. Senator Marshall and his colleagues also requested that leadership include an amendment to reinstate service members already discharged, with back pay, but the group’s efforts fell short. You may click HERE to read the letter to Senate Republican leadership.
Background on Senator Marshall’s Opposition to Military Vaccine Mandates:
In December 2021, Senator Marshall’s legislation to prevent service members from receiving a dishonorable discharge for choosing to not get the COVID vaccine was signed into law by President Joe Biden as part of the 2022 NDAA. You may click HERE or on the image below to watch a highlight video of Senator Marshall’s fight against dishonorable discharges for service members who choose to not get the COVID vaccine:
The COVID-19 Vaccine Dishonorable Discharge Prevention Act was introduced by Senator Marshall on the heels of President Biden mandating millions of Americans to get vaccinated and the DoD issuing guidance stating that soldiers who refuse the vaccine will face “administrative or non-judicial punishment [under UCMJ] – to include relief of duties or discharge.”
Soon after introduction of the bill, the White House announced opposition to the Senators’ legislation and in turn doubled down in their support to give service members a dishonorable discharge for refusing the COVID vaccine. As such, Senator Marshall offered his legislation as an amendment to the NDAA.
Dishonorably discharged U.S. service members surrender the following rights and benefits:
- Ownership of any sort of firearm or ammunition
- Access to the GI Bill for further education
- VA home loans
- VA medical benefits
- Military Funeral Honors
- Re-enlistment in another military branch
Senator Marshall penned an op-ed for FOX News on his legislation. You may click HERE to read it. You may also click HERE or on the image below to watch Senator Marshall’s press conference on his legislation.
In June 2022, Senator Marshall announced support for two pieces of legislation to protect Americans attending our nation’s service academies who choose not to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The Defending Freedom of Conscience for Cadets and Midshipman Act of 2022 would protect cadets and midshipmen at the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA), U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy from being punished for their choice to not receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The Allowing Military Exemptions, Recognizing Individual Concerns About New Shots (AMERICANS) Act of 2022 would counter the Biden Administration’s efforts to coerce and punish active duty service members who decline the COVID-19 vaccine, and introduce accountability measures in response to U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) efforts to undermine transparency.
At the time of Senator Marshall’s support for these bills, the U.S. Air Force Academy had recently announced unvaccinated graduates would not be commissioned. Under the plan, cadets and midshipmen who do not commission could be forced to repay tuition, room, and board expenses for their time at the Academy.