WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, following an announcement from the Pentagon that the Department of Defense will not provide back pay to military members kicked out of the service for refusing to take the COVID vaccine, Senator Rick Scott issued the following statement. Senator Scott successfully fought to end the military’s COVID vaccine mandate and will continue to work with his colleagues to secure the option of full reinstatement and back pay for all members removed from service who wish to rejoin the military. As part of this effort, Senator Scott recently led his colleagues in a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin demanding that the Pentagon deliver on these issues, and is fighting to pass his Defending Religious Accommodations Act which would require the Government Accountability Office to audit the military’s current process for evaluating and granting religious exemptions for vaccination requirements.
Senator Rick Scott said, “The Biden administration and the Pentagon have turned their backs on America’s service members. The military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate has proven disastrous for America’s military readiness and needlessly destroyed the lives and careers of thousands of brave service members. To now rule out back pay for these heroes is UNACCEPTABLE and I won’t stand for it. I was just in Panama City yesterday and heard firsthand how Biden’s military vaccine mandate is hurting our military members, their families and our communities. These are the folks that put their lives on the line to protect this great country and while repealing the vaccine mandate was a big win, it falls short of fixing the damage done to the thousands who were foolishly discharged from our Armed Forces. Come hell or high water, we will make this right. It’s time for Secretary Austin to stand up for our military members, do what’s right for our readiness and bring these members back with the full pay and benefits they so rightly deserve. If he won’t do it, we’ll put this common sense approach in law.”