Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) has asked the Department of Defense to suspend its COVID-19 vaccine mandate, or “risk irrevocable damage.”
On Monday, the ranking GOP member on the Senate Armed Services Committee submitted a letter requesting the suspension of the vaccine mandate for military personnel. The letter was addressed to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
The letter stated: “This haphazardly implemented and politically motivated vaccine mandate must be immediately suspended or risk irrevocable damage to our national security.”
Under current policy, members of the military must be vaccinated by November 2. When asked, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters that he won’t “speculate” on what the consequences will be for those who refuse.
The Associated Press reported that military officials have said that refusing to receive any mandated vaccine could be construed as a failure to obey an order, and therefore be punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
The Epoch Times reported that hundreds of thousands of troops remain unvaccinated.
Senator Inhofe suggested that Biden’s vaccine mandate negatively affects the readiness and morale of military members and civilians alike.
“At a time when our adversaries continue to increase their quantitative and qualitative advantage against our forces, we should seek to ensure that no policy, even unintentionally, hinders military readiness,” Inhofe emphasized. He also lamented what he calls “the lack of clarity and consistency” across the different military branches as their leaders rush to meet the “hasty” mandate.
Inhofe charges that the Pentagon’s response to the Senate panel’s findings and recommendations have not been satisfactory.
Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the chair of the House Armed Services Committee, reiterated his previous talking points regarding vaccines for service members.
In August, Smith voiced his support of Austin’s vaccine mandate, calling it “the only way to beat this virus.”
“Protecting those who serve the United States in uniform from COVID-19 is far too important for partisan games or anti-science misinformation,” Smith stated in August. “COVID-19 vaccination across the U.S. military is a national security and military readiness issue. I applaud the Biden-Harris Administration for trusting science and prioritizing the health of service members, their families, and our communities.”
Scroll down to leave a comment and share your thoughts.