Themacforums – Senate Passes Defense Bill that Rescinds Military Covid Vaccine Mandate. On Thursday, the Senate voted to approve comprehensive legislation that would revoke the US military’s requirement for the Covid vaccination and allow $858 billion in national defense spending.

The legislation is now ready for President Joe Biden to sign after passing the Senate. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023, which establishes policy and authorizes funds for the Department of Defense, has already received approval from the House.

The legislation allocates $817 billion directly for the Department of Military as part of its $858 billion topline for national defense spending. The enormous bill contains a sizable number of legislative clauses.

Among them, it would permit military service members to get a 4.6% pay boost. It includes measures to improve cybersecurity, ground combat defense capabilities, and air power. Additionally, it wants to increase US backing for NATO and Ukraine.

The clause to eliminate the Covid vaccination requirement for the military was added when House Republicans campaigned for its repeal. Kevin McCarthy, the leader of the House GOP, celebrated the clause and declared that the repeal of President Biden’s COVID vaccine requirement for the military was “a triumph for our military and for common sense.”

The Senate held a few amendment votes before voting on final passage.

Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin, and other conservatives submitted an amendment that would allow service members who were discharged for refusing the Covid-19 vaccine to rejoin the military. However, the amendment was rejected.

The underlying defense bill does not restore those service members but does repeal the military’s vaccination requirement.

The president continues to favor a mandate but has left the door open to a repeal, according to the White House, which withheld last week’s information on whether Biden would sign the yearly defense bill if it had the option to do so.

Senate Passes Defense Bill that Rescinds Military Covid Vaccine Mandate

The presence of the clause in the final compromise agreement, despite White House officials’ clear deference to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s resistance to the mandate’s revocation, highlights a reality that just emerged behind closed doors.

Democrats came to the conclusion that incorporating the GOP objective was essential to completing the policy bill that had to pass. Officials from the White House have privately conceded that this means their objection to the vaccine wording won’t prevent the bill from passing.

The defense policy bill’s final drink is the result of protracted talks between influential House and Senate lawmakers.

The Act does not actually provide the cash; rather, it sets forth the Department of Defense’s and the US military’s policy priorities and authorizes spending in accordance with those priorities.

Additional developments have been added to this story and headline.

This article has been updated to properly credit those who pushed for the inclusion of an amendment that would allow military personnel who skipped the Covid-19 vaccination to be rehired. Sen. Ron Johnson and other conservative senators proposed the bill.