White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Wednesday that removing the US military’s Covid vaccine mandate is a “mistake,” after the Republicans in Congress rescinded the measure.
“What we think happened here is that Republicans in Congress have decided that they’d rather fight against the health and wellbeing of our troops than protecting them,” Jean-Pierre said. “And we believe that it is a mistake what we saw happen on the NDAA as it relates to the vaccine mandate.”
Lawmakers on Tuesday night released the National Defense Authorization Act, which would increase the military budget by 9 percent for the next fiscal year, and would end the vaccine mandate for military personnel, the Military Times reports.
The plan also includes a 4.6 percent increase in pay for personnel, and adds an additional $19 billion to account for inflation.
If the bill passes in the Senate, it will be up to President Joe Biden to sign it into law. The Military Times reports that there is a six-decade-long stream of signing the legislation into law.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy threatened to axe the bill if it did not include the removal of vaccine mandates for military personnel.
“We’re working through what is the national defense bill, we will secure lifting that vaccine mandate on our military. Because what we’re finding is, they’re kicking out men and women that have been serving… That’s the first victory of having a Republican majority, and we’d like to have more of those victories, and we should start moving those now,” the Republican leader said to Maria Bartiromo on Sunday Morning Futures.
Kevin McCarthy: "We will secure lifting that vaccine mandate on our military." pic.twitter.com/tB1NLqbrZE
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“You’re saying in the NDAA, which we’ll drop next week, the vaccine mandate for the military will be lifted?,” Bartiromo asked.
”Yes, it will. Otherwise, the bill will not move,” McCarthy replied. “I’ve been very clear with the president. The president… worked with me on this. This is the first sign of having divided government, you got some compromise here. And we’ve got something that Republicans have been working very hard, and a number of Democrats, too, trying to find success. But one-party rule would never allow that to go forward. And now we’re going to have success.”