Biden making 'grave mistake' enforcing military vaccine mandate, Republicans warn

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Several Republicans, led by California Rep. Darrell Issa, told President Biden on Tuesday he was committing a “grave mistake” in enforcing a vaccine mandate on all U.S. military personnel. 

In a letter to the president obtained by Fox News, Issa pleads with the president as a father of a military service member. 

“As the father of a major in the Judge Advocate General Corps who honorably served our nation in a foreign combat theater, you can fully and uniquely appreciate the sacrifices that our veterans make for America,” Issa wrote. 

The Department of Defense has reported a 90% vaccination rate.

The California Republican along with GOP Reps. Ronnie Jackson of Texas, Doug Lamborn of Colorado, Neal Dunn of Florida, and Tracy Mann of Kansas, urged the president not to “punish and expel” all service members who refuse to get the vaccine. 

The Department of Defense has reported a 90% vaccination rate, coupled with a 95% vaccination rate among Air Force and Navy service members. 

Issa said falling short of a 100% vaccination rate should not be viewed as a shortcoming, but as “perhaps the most successful health utilization program in our nation’s history.”

“As of today, however, tens of thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are on the brink of being dismissed from service for disagreeing with your mandate or seeking a religious exemption,” the congressmen wrote to the president. 

The lawmakers warned that if service members are discharged for their failure to get shots, others have said they too will leave the military.

“There is simply no good reason to charge forward, decline all deliberation and recklessly damage – perhaps irreversibly – our nation’s security and force readiness,” they wrote. 

A U.S. Marine prepares to receive the Moderna coronavirus vaccine at Camp Hansen on April 28, 2021 in Kin, Japan.
(Carl Court/Getty Images)

The lawmakers said they “share” the president’s view that the vaccine is effective and important for Americans to get. But they also urged Biden to reverse his order and instead continue efforts to educate service members on the safety and benefits of the vaccine.

The letter comes as the Air Force reportedly discharged 27 active duty service members for failing to get vaccinated by the November deadline.

The Army has set a deadline of Dec. 15 for active duty personnel.


“Every member of our military is ready to fight for us,” Issa told Fox News. “This is our turn to fight for them and make sure President Biden’s doesn’t destroy tens of thousands of military careers.”

Fox News could not immediately reach the White House for comment. 

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