Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., is set to introduce legislation Thursday that would ban federal funds to any government entity or program requiring members of the National Guard to get the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a report from The Daily Caller.
This news coincides with Thursday reports of 40,000 U.S. Army National Guard members being fired for refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
If Blackburn's legislation should pass the House and Senate chambers, it would block service members from being removed over vaccine hesitancy.
"Our service members are the bedrock of America," Blackburn told The Daily Caller this week. "Firing 40,000 Guardsmen for refusing the COVID vaccine would be both a complete disgrace and a threat to our national security. I am honored to stand beside our National Guardsmen and women by introducing this legislation to protect them from President Biden’s forever pandemic."
"We're going to give every soldier every opportunity to get vaccinated and continue their military career. Every soldier that is pending an exemption, we will continue to support them through their process," Lt. Gen. Jon Jensen, director of the Army National Guard, told The Associated Press, regarding vaccine mandates.
"We're not giving up on anybody until the separation paperwork is signed and completed. There's 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 he had been unsuccessfully trying to meet with Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, in advance of the June 30 firing date.
"They've ignored and they've ignored and diverted and tried to avoid whether it's an event we invited them to or whatever it may be," said Shelton. "So, they've avoided us like a plague."
Here are the components of Senator Blackburn's proposal:
- No federal funds may be used to require a member of the National Guard to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
- The Secretary of Defense may not take any adverse action against a member of the National Guard, due to that person's COVID-19 vaccine refusal.
- The Department of Defense, or any other government entity, wouldn't be able to retaliate, dole out punishment, or treat a National Guard member disparately for not receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
Blackburn's proposal comes two days after Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, reportedly asked Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to ''indefinitely postpone'' enforcing the DOD's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for members of the state's Army National Guard.
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