Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., is set to introduce legislation on Thursday that would bar federal funds to any government entity or program requiring members of the National Guard to be vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a report. from The Daily Caller.
The news coincides with reports on Thursday that 40,000 members of the US Army National Guard have been fired for refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
If Blackburn’s legislation were to pass the House and Senate chambers, it would prevent service members from being fired for vaccine hesitancy.
“Our military is the foundation of America,” Blackburn told TDC this week. “Firing 40,000 guards for refusing the COVID vaccine would be both a complete disgrace and a threat to our national security. I am honored to stand with our National Guardsmen in introducing this legislation to protect them from President Biden’s eternal pandemic.
“We will give every soldier every opportunity to get vaccinated and continue their military career. Every soldier awaiting an exemption, we will continue to support them through their process,” said Lt. Gen. Jon Jensen, director of the army. National Guard, told The Associated Press, regarding the vaccination mandates.
“We will not abandon anyone until the separation documents are signed and completed. There is still time.”
Citing an Associated Press report, Ricky Shelton, a Tennessee National Guard captain from Grainger County who is a member of the 230th Sustainment Brigade, told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that he tried unsuccessfully to meet with Tennessee Governor Bill Lee ahead of the June 30 shooting date.
“They ignored and they ignored and hijacked and tried to avoid whether it’s an event we invited them to or whatever,” Shelton said. “So they avoided us like the plague.”
Here are the elements of Senator Blackburn’s proposal:
- No federal funds may be used to compel a member of the National Guard to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
- The Secretary of Defense cannot take any adverse action against a member of the National Guard, due to that person’s denial of the COVID-19 vaccine.
- The Department of Defense, or any other government entity, would not be able to retaliate, impose penalties, or treat a member of the National Guard disparately for not receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
Blackburn’s proposal comes two days after Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, reportedly asked Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to “indefinitely postpone” enforcement of the DOD’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate for members of the State Army National Guard.
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