Biden Admin Refuses to Surrender on COVID Vax Mandate

( – Frustrating and angering many military servicemembers, President Joe Biden’s White House and Defense Department are resisting Republican calls to terminate the coronavirus vaccine mandate for the US military as Congress is negotiating next year’s defense budget.

Many GOP US lawmakers have insisted that Biden’s vaccine mandate for troops be dropped, arguing it is damaging the US military as thousands of service members have quit because of it and are thus generating national security risks.

According to a New York Post report, “even some Democrats are open” to doing away with the vaccination mandate amid talks for the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which are expected to end next week.

“Congress should take action, and we’re taking action today by saying we will not vote to get on the NDAA – the defense authorization bill – unless we have a vote on ending this military vaccine mandate,” Republican US Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky told a press conference last week.

However, on Monday, John Kirby, the spokesman of Biden’s National Security Council, said the president and the administration saw “no reason” to end the mandate.

“Obviously, we’re aware that Congress is considering putting a repeal in the NDAA … of the vaccine mandate,” he said.

“Secretary Austin’s been very clear that he opposes the repeal of the vaccine mandate, and the president actually concurs with the Secretary of Defense,” Kirby added.

If the current NDAA talks fail, the Defense Department will run on a continuation of its 2022 budget until the 2023 law is eventually adopted.

Even Democrat US Rep. Adam Smith of Washington state, who bills himself as a “very strong supporter” of the military vaccine mandate, made clear he would be “open” to negotiating its termination to secure congressional support for the $847 billion NDAA for 2023.

“At this point in time, does it make sense to have that policy from August 2021?” Smith told Politico, adding that the “pandemic has winded down.”

According to Biden’s press secretary Karine Jeanne-Pierre, Biden’s view on keeping the vaccination mandate for the US military got “hardened” by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s stance.

“The secretary of defense has recommended retaining the mandate because the COVID vaccination requirement was put in place to keep our service members safe and healthy and prepared for service,” Jeanne-Pierre said.

Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham, who also spoke during Sen. Rand Paul’s press conference last week, declared he would vote against the NDAA bill unless the vaccine mandate was changed.

“It makes no sense to me to discharge thousands of people – for whatever reason and sincere reasons, I’m sure – at a time when we need to get more people in the military,” Graham stated.