Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., is again calling for the protection of U.S. service members from being fired for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
"Communist China, North Korea, Iran, and Russia are threatening the safety and security of the United States and our freedom-loving partners across the globe," she said in a statement.
"Meanwhile, the Biden administration is focused on firing servicemembers who make the personal decision not to get vaccinated. As a result, every branch of the U.S. military struggled to meet recruiting goals this fiscal year, including the U.S. Army, which fell 15,000 servicemembers short of its benchmark.
"These numbers reflect a tremendous disservice to our country and to the men and women willing to fight for it. While the threat and power of the New Axis of Evil expands, the United States needs every single brave American who volunteers to protect our nation."
According to Blackburn's office, 5,700 members of the military have already been for not getting the vaccine and 60,000 are still at risk of being dismissed.
Blackburn introduced legislation in July that would have banned federal funds to any government entity or program requiring members of the National Guard to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
In September, Blackburn also introduced legislation aimed at bolstering the military's readiness by limiting COVID-19 related separations until recruiting benchmarks are met and ensure continued pay and benefits for servicemembers while religious and health accommodations are pending.
The army fell about 15,000 soldiers — or 25% — short of its recruitment goal this year, according to the Associated Press. The shortfall came despite moves to make up the expected gap in a year when all the military services had difficulty in a tight jobs market to find young people willing and fit to enlist.
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