President Joe Biden could be considered a “wartime” president. Not because of Ukraine. But because Biden has declared war on the troops under him, specifically the unvaxxed lurking in the ranks.
Cruz introduced the “Allowing Military Exemptions, Recognizing Individual Concerns About New Shots” or AMERICANS Act, this week with the support of 13 GOP senators.
According to Cruz, the measure would require Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin “to make every effort” to ensure unvaccinated military personnel remain in the service.
It would also require the Pentagon to strengthen language to ensure service members would receive discharge orders that match their record of service.
Cruz said the bill also would require the Department of Defense to report the how many and what type of COVID-19 vaccine religious exemptions that have been denied, and it would create an exemption from vax requirements for service members with “natural immunity.”
Similarly protected would be cadets at the nation’s military academies and those enrolled in Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, or ROTC.
“It is absolutely unacceptable that the Biden administration is trying to coerce our men and women in uniform to violate their conscience and religious beliefs, let alone on an issue as polarizing as the COVID-19 vaccine,” Cruz said in a statement. “The AMERICANS Act will ensure that these and similar efforts to politicize our military on this issue are blocked.”
Rubio’s office said the bill would “counter the Biden Administration’s efforts to coerce and punish active duty service members who decline the COVID-19 vaccine,” while also introducing accountability measures that respond to the Pentagon’s attempts to undermine transparency.
“The Biden Administration trusted our men and women in uniform to risk their lives in service to our country, but not with personal medical decisions,” Rubio said in a statement. “It is vindictive and wrong. We need to protect these brave Americans and ensure they are treated with the respect they deserve.”
Last month, the Military Times reported that about 3,400 military personnel had been kicked out of the service for refusing the jab. Of those, about 70 percent received general discharges, while the rest were given honorable discharges. Almost 2,000 of those who were discharged were former U.S. Marines.
In addition to Cruz, Rubio, and Scott, the Republican lawmakers backing the bill include Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Rand Paul of Kentucky, James Lankford of Oklahoma, James Risch of Idaho, Mike Braun of Indiana, and Steve Daines of Montana.