By Sumner Jacobs, The Chicago Times
December 9, 2022
WASHINGTON – The US House of Representatives passed a $858 billion national defense bill that will also end the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for members of the US military. As threats from both Communist China and the Russian Federation increase, this will be the second time in two years that the House has exceeded defense spending requests by the Biden administration. The House bill passed by 350-80 votes and will now go to the Senate where it is expected to be passed.
The bill will require Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to rescind his August 2021 order that mandated vaccines for US military personnel. Earlier in the week Austin had vowed to keep the mandate in place.
According to many House members, the vaccine was hampering recruiting and retention of military personnel. Defense Department data revealed that some 8,000 active-duty service members were discharged for refusing to take the vaccine. However, senior military leaders have argued that the vaccine was only one of many that are required to be taken by military personnel in order to maintain health standards.