“As Governors, our ability to respond to natural disasters and conduct emergency operations is contingent upon the strength and size of our National Guard units. As Congressional leaders, it is your duty to provide for the national defense, and therefore, we call upon you to protect the men and women in uniform – who protect us – from an unnecessary vaccine mandate,” the governors wrote.
“As President Biden himself stated on Sept. 18, 2022, ‘The pandemic is over.’”
According to the letter, the vaccine mandate is causing thousands of active duty service members to be discharged from the armed forces, all while military recruiters are severely falling short of their goals.
The governors wrote that as of November 15, the military has discharged 8,000 active-duty soldiers since President Biden’s mandate was implemented. The National Guard is preparing to discharge 14,000 over the next two years while falling short of recruitment goals for new soldiers by 15,000 — a staggering 25 percent.
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has added his voice to those in Washington demanding an end to the military vaccine mandate, joining 12 other senators, including Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), in calling on congressional leaders to amend the upcoming National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to prohibit service members from being fired due to their refusal to take the vaccine.
“The Department of Defense COVID-19 vaccine mandate has ruined the livelihoods of men and women who have honorably served our country … While the Department of Defense certainly must make decisions that will bolster military readiness, the effects of the mandate are antithetical to the readiness of our force, and the policy must be revoked,” the senators wrote.
The governor’s letter is also calling for the mandate to be lifted via an amendment to the NDAA or a standalone bill.
The appeal to congressional leaders isn’t the first time Abbott has pushed back against the military vaccine mandate.
In January, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit at the request of Abbott against the federal government seeking to have the mandate struck down in the courts.
U.S. District Judge J. Campbell Barker denied Paxton and Abbott’s request for an injunction against the mandate in June, which has been appealed to the U.S. Fifth Circuit.
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Matt Stringer is a reporter for The Texan who writes about all things government, politics, and public policy. He graduated from Odessa College with an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies and a Bachelor’s Degree in Management and Leadership. In his free time, you will find him in the great outdoors, usually in the Davis Mountains and Big Bend region of Southwest Texas.