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COMMENTARY OF THE DAY
By
Robert Namer
Voice Of America
©2023 All rights reserved
January 22, 2023

     The White House and Pentagon are opposing calls to end the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for troops, as Congress negotiates a military spending plan that some lawmakers insist include a repeal of the shot requirement.  A dumb position that will end.

     Many Republicans are calling for – and even some Democrats are open to – the Biden Administration’s COVID vaccine requirement being nixed in the pending arms budget legislation, which is expected to be finalized and unveiled.  “Congress should take action, and we’re taking action today by saying we will not vote to get on the NDAA – the defense authorization bill – unless we have a vote on ending this military vaccine mandate,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., one of the vaccine order’s main GOP opponents, said at a press conference.  But President Joe Biden and his administration see no reason to end the requirement, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

     Under the COVID shot order, which was handed down by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in August 2021, all service members must get the vaccine or face expulsion for refusing an order.  “Obviously, we’re aware that Congress is considering putting a repeal in the NDAA … of the vaccine mandate,” he said. “Secretary Austin’s been very clear that he opposes the repeal of the vaccine mandate and the president actually concurs with the Secretary of Defense.”       The NDAA sets defense policy and spending priorities for the 2023 fiscal year. Without its approval, the Pentagon must continue operating on the 2022 version and continuing resolution funds until the matter is resolved. 

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