Perhaps the Pentagon will be among the first to withdrawal from mandate mania.
It is quite clear that many Americans are not going to comply with Biden’s push for employers to enforce a nationwide COVID vaccine mandate.
Therefore, Team Biden is rethinking its plans to immediately fire those Pentagon employees and contractors who refuse the vaccination.
Facing criticism that mandates for coronavirus vaccinations could force the Defense Department to fire thousands of civilians, contractors and troops, the Biden administration is signaling that vaccine resisters may get more time to comply.
President Joe Biden and administration officials have previously said Pentagon employees and contractors have to be vaccinated or face termination on a series of upcoming deadlines. This has led to fears that thousands of people responsible for national defense may soon be forced out of their jobs. Virtually every day, Republican lawmakers decry what they describe as a national security crisis in the offing.
It appears that instead of termination, those who decline the vaccine will be given a reeducation.
The deadlines for vaccination vary, depending on the type of employee. And they have not changed. The first of them arrives next week, on Nov. 2, for active-duty Air Force personnel, and official service figures show that some 4% of the active-duty Air Force is still not fully vaccinated.
Three administration officials in the last couple of days have described the deadlines not as the dates when an ax will fall but rather as the start of an education process designed to convince those who are resisting vaccination to reverse course.
Administration officials seem to be straddling a line — sending a strict signal that the U.S. government will vaccinate its people on the one hand, while reassuring Americans that enforcement will not come so hard and fast as to harm U.S. military readiness or the broader economy.
“U.S. military leaders are sending a tough message to the troops to get it done,” said Mike Hanzel, a civilian attorney who specializes in military law. “However, my sense is that their goal here is not to punish or separate large numbers of servicemembers, which could be counterproductive to overall readiness, but rather to encourage compliance. In practice, while anyone who failed to get their vaccine is at risk once the deadline passes, I believe most will still have an opportunity to get the vaccine and avoid involuntary separation.”
However, resistance is likely to continue. Therefore, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R, OK) is one of the many GOP leaders pressing the Pentagon to drop its mandate that Pentagon personnel be vaccinated for COVID-19.
The mandate is supposed to prevent a debilitating COVID outbreak in the ranks, but Inhofe argues it may do more harm than good.
“Responses to inquiries from the Senate Armed Services Committee … as to the impacts on readiness, consequences for failure to comply with the mandate and anticipated manning challenges have been unsatisfactory,” Inhofe said in a written statement.
“Tens of thousands of service members have yet to comply with the vaccination order. The ambiguity of the various policies combined with unrealistic timelines and processes for granting exemptions will ensure that tens of thousands of personnel are unable to comply.”
Given Biden’s sinking poll numbers, and the increasing resistance of the American people to accept “expert” guidance, it would not be surprising that the Defense Department might completely withdraw from mandate mania. It would be one withdrawal that would actually make sense.DONATE
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