Senate Republicans says they’ll withhold their support for the National Defense Authorization Act if they don’t get a vote on ending the military’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate for service members.
Seven GOP senators made the vow Wednesday at a Capitol Hill news conference, saying they would withhold the support if leaders of the Democrat-led chamber don’t allow a floor vote on their proposal, according to NBC News.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said the group will not vote to get on the NDAA “unless we have a vote on ending this military vaccine mandate.”
The libertarian-mined Paul typically votes against the act every year and is among the most critical in his conference about the federal government’s handling of the pandemic, including mandated vaccinations.
The senators’ effort could delay final passage of the annual bill, which Congress has consistently passed, but it would not prevent the Senate from eventually voting on the legislation, NBC also reports.
The other six are Sens. Mike Braun, of Indiana; Ted Cruz, of Texas; Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina; Ron Johnson, of Wisconsin; Mike Lee, of Utah; and Rick Scott, of Florida.
Graham says military recruitment had suffered as a result of vaccination requirements that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made mandatory last year for all service members. The requirement applies to all active duty and Ready Reserve service members including the National Guardsmen.
“The problem here is that we’re having a dilemma we haven’t had in decades – and that’s finding enough people serving,” said Graham, the news outlet also reports.