A great, first step in the long walk back to sanity.
House Republicans moved Wednesday to protect former service members who were discharged over failure to comply with Biden’s needless and useless covid vaccine mandate, including clearing a path to reinstatement.
Troops who were discharged for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine could be reinstated at the rank held when they were separated and without the discharge affecting future career advancement under one of a series of amendments related to the vaccine mandate approved by the House Armed Services Committee. The committee was debating its version of the annual defense policy bill.
The amendments would also require discharge review boards to take up requests to upgrade discharges for those booted solely over vaccine refusal; mandate that the Pentagon must reach out to discharged troops about how they can apply to be reinstated; exempt service academy students who weren’t commissioned because they refused the vaccine from having to pay back their taxpayer-funded tuition; and direct the Pentagon to study how much it would cost to give the discharged troops back pay and a $15,000 bonus.
“This provides a fair, equitable and honorable option for our wrongly separated service members,” Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., said of his amendment to reinstate the discharged troops.
I would argue that the service academy cadets should be allowed to commission as well if they were poised to graduate when they were expelled. Those who were forced to leave the academies should be allowed to return. Young and healthy people should never have been compelled to take the vaccine in the first place, and it is not as if we have an excess of qualified individuals clamoring for some of the highly technical positions those former cadets had been trained to handle.
The House would force the Department of Defense to make plans for the reinstatement process.
Banks offered two more amendments that passed, including one that would require the military services’ boards of corrections to prioritize cases for troops who didn’t receive the vaccine and want to rejoin the ranks, and another that requires DOD to inform those who were separated on how to rejoin if they choose to do so.
The panel also approved an amendment from Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas), which passed 32-27, that would exempt cadets and midshipmen from repaying tuition at military service academies if they were dismissed for refusing the vaccine mandate.
Another provision, brought forward by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), directs Pentagon leadership to develop a plan to present to the committee on its active reengagement and reenlistment of those who were penalized for refusing the shot.
As my Legal Insurrection colleague James Nault has reported, recruitment is down because men and women who are inclined toward military service generally do not want to be surrounded by woke policies and a racially-based merit system. New numbers show 2023 levels are not improving.
It’s been widely reported that recruitment levels across all branches of the United States military fell well short of expectations in 2022. The Army missed its target of 60,000 new troops by 15,000, or 25% . Navy and Air Force recruitment were down as well. And the outlook for 2023 looks equally dismal.
According to Military.com , Army planners estimate that “only about 23% of 17- to 24-year-olds can meet the service’s expectations, with many applicants failing the military’s SAT-style entrance exam or being too overweight to serve.”
Reinstating former members of the military who were punished for reasonable concerns about an experimental vaccine seems like a great first step in the long walk back to sanity.DONATE
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