Friday, January 27, 2023
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McCarthy Says GOP Will Hold Military Funding Bill until COVID Vax Mandate Is Lifted

'I laid out very clearly what the difference will be with the new Republican majority... '

(Headline USAHouse Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., warned the Biden administration this week that the new Republican-controlled House will hold a military funding bill until the military COVID-19 vaccine mandate is repealed.

McCarthy revealed he spoke with President Joe Biden about the vaccine mandate during a White House meeting last week and made it clear that the National Defense Authorization Act will not make it through the House until the mandate is lifted. 

“I laid out very clearly what the difference will be with the new Republican majority. And we’re working through what is the NDAA, the national defense bill. We will secure lifting that vaccine mandate on our military,” McCarthy told Fox News. “Come next week, you will see that we have been able to. And that’s the first victory of having a Republican majority.”

Biden has not publicly said he plans to lift the vaccine mandate, but McCarthy said the president privately assured him that it would be lifted — even as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin fights to keep it in place.

“We lost a million people to this virus,” Austin told reporters on Saturday. “A million people died in the United States of America. We lost hundreds in DOD. So this mandate has kept people healthy.”

“I’m the guy” who ordered the military to require the vaccine, Austin added. “I support continuation of vaccinating the troops.”

But McCarthy insisted that the Pentagon will not receive additional funding until the mandate is gone.

“The bill will not move,” he said. “I have been very clear with the president.”

Even House Democrats support the idea of repealing the military vaccine mandate

“I was a very strong supporter of the vaccine mandate when we did it, a very strong supporter of the COVID restrictions put in place by DOD and others,” said Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., on Saturday. “But at this point in time, does it make sense to have that policy from August 2021? That is a discussion that I am open to and that we’re having.”

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