Here’s another sign House Republicans are winning.
Politico recently reported that the Pentagon is considering giving back pay to troops who were booted out for refusing President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin kicked out roughly 8,400 troops for opting for medical freedom.
Yet Austin formally rescinded the mandatory vax policy last week. Congressional Republicans fought to get the provision included in the new defense spending bill that Biden recently signed.
One of them was Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz.
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The Fort Walton Beach Republican argued repeatedly that troops should get their jobs back as well as receive back pay.
“I will not rest until every career impacted is restored,” Gaetz said in a tweet Monday that referenced Politico’s story.
That may come next.
In its report, Politico added, “Austin’s memo opened the door to reinstating troops who believe they were wrongfully let go, stipulating that service members and veterans may apply to correct their records. While the military has not yet made a decision on providing back pay to service members for the time that they were discharged, a spokesperson said the department is looking into it.
“Regarding back pay,” Pentagon spokesman Maj. Charlie Dietz told Politico, “the Department is still exploring this and will provide its views on the legislation of this nature at the appropriate time and through the appropriate process.”
“Providing back pay would be a win for Republicans who railed against the vaccine mandate,” Politico noted.
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Austin also relented on punishing the troops in their official records.
Politico reported that the secretary’s memo said personnel records of troops who refused the jab would be stripped of any referrals to “adverse actions” filed in relation to their unwillingness to comply.
Even Democrats now seem ready to admit the obvious.
Democratic Rep. Adam Smith, a member of the House Armed Services Committee who has sparred frequently with Gaetz over defense policy, told Politico, “I was a very strong supporter of the vaccine mandate when we did it. But at this point in time, does it make sense to have that policy from August 2021?”