WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), alongside 41 of her House Republican colleagues, urged the Department of Defense (DoD) to halt efforts to involuntarily discharge members of the military who have refused vaccination until an in-depth review of natural immunity is complete and the Department has issued uniform procedures for vaccine exemptions.
Section 720 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 requires the DoD to establish uniform procedures and expects the department to fully consider natural immunity. This includes eligibility timelines for consideration of exemptions for service members nearing separation and retirement in the development of uniform procedures relating to administrative exemptions.
In the letter, the members state:
“We are gravely concerned that the military services are proceeding with involuntary discharges when it is unclear to us whether uniform procedures have been issued by the Department of Defense. If the Department of Defense has not issued uniform procedures or reviewed the inclusion of natural immunity and the military services are moving forward with involuntary discharges, then we believe the Department is ignoring and violating Section 720. Congress included this language to protect our service members, and we expect the Department of Defense to abide by the law.”
House Members joining Hartzler in this effort are Reps. Doug Lamborn, Elise M. Stefanik, Brian J. Mast, David B. McKinley, P.E., Darrell Issa, Kevin Hern, Rodney Davis, Bill Huizenga, Yvette Herrell, Michael Waltz, Bill Posey, Michael Guest, David G. Valadao, Thomas P. Tiffany, Pete Stauber, Mike Kelly, Andy Biggs, Neal P. Dunn, M.D., Gus M. Bilirakis, Dan Crenshaw, Randy K. Weber, Sr., Louie Gohmert, Lauren Boebert, Glenn Grothman, Alex X. Mooney, Mo Brooks, Joe Wilson, Scott DesJarlais, M.D., Jack Bergman, David Schweikert, Jeff Duncan, Ralph Norman, Bruce Westerman, Jim Banks, Eric A. “Rick” Crawford, Jodey C. Arrington, Barry Moore, Christopher H. Smith, Victoria Spartz, Ted Budd, and W. Gregory Steube.
Read the letter in its entirety here.