HYDE-SMITH TOUTS END OF BIDEN MILITARY VACCINE MANDATE, FOCUS ON NATIONAL SECURITY NEEDS IN DEFENSE BILL
Miss. Senator Will Vote for Passage of Defense Policy Bill, Nixing the Vaccine Mandate
WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the U.S Senate nearing passage of the FY2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today highlighted the successful effort to repeal the Biden administration’s military COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
Hyde-Smith spoke at a news conference Thursday with her fellow colleagues who warned Senate leadership in November that they would oppose moving to the NDAA unless the bill terminated the vaccine mandate, which has resulted in the dishonorable discharge of thousands of servicemembers and unmet recruitment and retention goals. The maneuver prompted bicameral negotiators to drop the mandate, despite strong administration opposition.
“Rescinding these mandates will save thousands of service members from being wrongly terminated and allow them to focus on what they need to be focused on and that’s national security missions, what they signed up for,” Hyde-Smith said. “Ensuring that our service members are protected and equipped with the tools that they need to defend this country must be our top priority, not targeting those who do not want the COVID vaccine.”
“I am so grateful for our brave service men and women. Everybody on this platform, we promise to you that we’re going to stand for their freedoms just as they’re standing for our freedoms,” the Mississippi Senator said.
Hyde-Smith indicated she will vote for the NDAA (HR.7776), a military and national defense policy measure that authorizes crucial funding for the U.S. Armed Forces.
Items of interest in the FY2023 NDAA:
- Increases authorized defense funding by $45 billion above President Biden’s initial insufficient budget request, including $32.6 billion for shipbuilding.
- Authorizes funding to support a 4.6 percent pay raise for our military service members.
- Authorizes $2.7 billion to procure new ammunitions, which in part will backfill equipment sent to Ukraine while also bolstering U.S. production capacity.
- Extends much needed resources to the Indo-Pacific via the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, continuing improvements to U.S. force posture in the Indo-Pacific to deter and, if necessary, defeat Chinese aggression.
- Continues previous efforts to support military families, including ensuring that military spouses have access to meaningful employment when they move around the country.
- Repeals the President’s military vaccine mandate to protect service members from dishonorable discharges for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.