Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy and seven fellow GOP House members introduced a bill on Tuesday that would allow military service members discharged for refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine to be reinstated to service.
The Service Restoration Act is designed to protect Armed Forces personnel from vaccine mandates and expunge any adverse action due to non-compliance with the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
“Because of President Biden’s power-hungry, anti-science COVID-19 vaccine mandate, hundreds of valuable American service members are being forced out of our military, taking with them years of subject-matter expertise, careers of selfless sacrifice, and lifelong dreams of military service. This is strategically foolish, profoundly unamerican, and completely unacceptable,” Roy said in a statement.
“I introduced the Service Restoration Act to ensure that the brave men and women of our armed forces are not fired over this wrong-headed mandate — whether it be for a medical, religious, conscientious or any reason — and that those already dismissed are able to get back to honorably serving their country with their time of service and their records rightfully restored,” he added.
According to Roy’s statement, the act aims to accomplish four goals:
- Prohibits Federal funds from being used to require a member of the Armed Forces to receive the COVID-19 vaccine;
- Requires the Secretary to reinstate members of the Armed Force who wish to return to duty at the same rank;
- Requires the Secretary to still count the service members’ time separated from the military towards their retirement benefits;
- Requires the Secretary to expunge from the service members’ record any adverse action due to refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
The bill’s co-sponsors include Reps. Marjorie Taylor Green (GA), Michael Cloud (TX), Bill Posey (FL), Matt Rosendale (MT), Louie Gohmert (TX), Van Taylor (TX), and Bob Good (VA).
The bill’s introduction comes as the military has increasingly discharged members who have refused to comply with the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate.
Roy’s legislation also comes as his state’s Republican governor, Greg Abbott, filed a preliminary injunction on Tuesday to urge the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to protect the state’s National Guard members from the Biden Administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
“The Governor of Texas does not take orders from the President of the United States,” Abbott said in a statement.
“President Biden must be held accountable for his unconscionable willingness to hollow out the Texas National Guard with another illegal vaccine mandate. As the commander-in-chief of Texas’ militia, I will deploy every legal tool in defense of these American heroes,” he added.
The Governor of Texas does not take orders from the President.
President Biden must be held accountable for his unconscionable willingness to hollow out the Texas Guard with another illegal vaccine mandate.
I will deploy every legal tool in defense of these American heroes. pic.twitter.com/PdxCghkQ3b
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) February 8, 2022
The Daily Wire reported in January regarding the Navy’s removal of its first members over the mandate:
The U.S. Navy announced on Wednesday that it has discharged its first 45 members who have refused to take the Armed Forces’ COVID-19 vaccine.
The concerning report could grow in number, as the latest update from the Navy on Wednesday revealed nearly 8,000 of its personnel remain unvaccinated. The total includes “5,035 active component and 2,960 Ready Reserve service members.”
Among the first 45 Navy service members released included 23 Active Component Sailors, along with 22 Entry Level Separations (ELS). ELS members refer to members within their first 180 days of active duty, according to the report.