House Republicans Seek To Defund COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates

A group of House Republicans is working to end the enforcement of federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates, particularly in Medicare and Medicaid-related cases. Over a dozen GOP lawmakers signed a letter urging the inclusion of language in the upcoming Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for FY 2024 that would defund such mandates. They argue that Congress holds the power of the purse and must take every step to defund what they see as tyrannical mandates.

Addressed to key members of the House Appropriations Committee and the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies subcommittee, the letter requests that funding be blocked for a specific Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rule. The rule in question is the “Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination,” issued on November 5, 2021.

In a separate initiative, several House Republicans have called on the Marine Corps to reach out to marines who were cut from service due to the military vaccine mandate to fill critical roles. Rep. Greg Murphy (R-NC) led the group signing the letter, expressing concern for the thousands of marines who have been stripped of their livelihoods due to their personal medical decisions. He believes such baseless and unscientific policies undermine the military’s premier standing.

House Veterans Affairs Committee chairman Mike Bost (R-IL) supports reinstating marines discharged due to the vaccine mandate, stating that Congress had already ended the Department of Defense COVID-19 vaccine mandate when the National Defense Authorization Act was passed last year. Bost argues that reinstating these marines makes sense, especially considering the recruitment crisis the Marine Corps faces. These individuals have already proven their willingness and ability to serve the nation.

Rep. Max Miller (R-OH), who served six years in the Marine Corps Reserve, also expressed his support for bringing back the discharged soldiers. Miller emphasized that there are trained marines capable of filling critical jobs today but were let go simply for refusing the vaccine, a decision he deems wrong.

The letter to Marine Corps Commandant David Berger highlights serious concerns over the unprecedented recruitment challenges the entire Department of Defense faces. The lawmakers pointed out that the Marine Corps vaccine mandate dismissals added to this problem and that many service members were not even given due consideration. The letter also noted that the Marine Corps had to change its recruiting goal for Fiscal Year 2022 due to the aggressive discharge of service members.

The lawmakers requested that Marine Corps recruiters reach out to the thousands of expelled marines to explore who could fill positions where their Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) expertise is critically needed. In addition, they asked for special consideration for marines who received re-enlistment bonuses due to a need for their MOS expertise.