Sen. Marshall Bills Protect Service Academy Members Who Refuse COVID Vaccination

(Wichita, KS, June 2, 2022) – U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS) announced support today for two new pieces of legislation to protect Americans attending our nation’s service academies who choose not to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The bills come on the heels of the U.S. Air Force Academy recently announcing unvaccinated graduates would not be commissioned. Cadets and midshipmen who do not commission could be forced to repay tuition, room, and board expenses for their time at the Academy.

The Defending Freedom of Conscience for Cadets and Midshipman Act of 2022 would protect cadets and midshipmen at the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA), U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy from being punished for their choice to not receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Allowing Military Exemptions, Recognizing Individual Concerns About New Shots (AMERICANS) Act of 2022would counter the Biden Administration’s efforts to coerce and punish active duty service members who decline the COVID-19 vaccine, and introduce accountability measures in response to U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) efforts to undermine transparency.

 “Joe Biden’s outrageous and plain mean-spirited vaccine tyranny knows no bounds – now punishing aspiring heroes who have earned the honor of joining the officer ranks,” said Senator Marshall. “As a former Army doctor and having led the fight against dishonorable discharges for service members who choose to not get the COVID vaccine, I am proud to support these important bills. Despite our victory in December, the Biden Administration is still pressuring service members to get the vaccine and finding ways to punish those who decline. I support those who are defending our freedoms and have carefully weighed their decision on whether to receive the COVID vaccine. It is shameful that President Biden would rather have patriotic Americans, who have nothing but a desire to put on their country’s uniform, stay on the sidelines instead of proudly serving in our military.”

Background on Senator Marshall’s Opposition to Military Vaccine Mandates:

In December 2021, Senator Marshall’s legislation to prevent service members from receiving a dishonorable discharge for choosing to not get the COVID vaccine was signed into law by President Joe Biden as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). You may click HERE or on the image below to watch a highlight video of Senator Marshall’s fight against dishonorable discharges for service members who choose to not get the COVID vaccine:

The COVID-19 Vaccine Dishonorable Discharge Prevention Act was introduced by Senator Marshall on the heels of President Biden mandating millions of Americans to get vaccinated and the DoD issuing guidance stating that soldiers who refuse the vaccine will face “administrative or non-judicial punishment [under UCMJ] – to include relief of duties or discharge.”

Soon after introduction of the bill, the White House announced opposition to the Senators’ legislation and in turn doubled down in their support to give service members a dishonorable discharge for refusing the COVID vaccine. As such, Senator Marshall offered his legislation as an amendment to the NDAA.

Dishonorably discharged U.S. service members surrender the following rights and benefits:

  • Ownership of any sort of firearm or ammunition
  • Access to the GI Bill for further education
  • VA home loans
  • VA medical benefits
  • Military Funeral Honors
  • Re-enlistment in another military branch

Senator Marshall penned an op-ed for FOX News on his legislation. You may click HERE to read it. You may also click HERE or on the image below to watch Senator Marshall’s recent press conference on his legislation.

Background on the AMERICANS Act:

This legislation would:

  • Require the Secretary of Defense to make every effort to retain unvaccinated service members, strengthen language to ensure service members receive discharge classifications commensurate with their record of service;
  • Require the Department of Defense to report the number and type of COVID-19 vaccine religious exemptions that have been denied, and create an exemption from COVID-19 vaccine requirements for service members with natural immunity; and
  • Extend protections offered to service academy students to Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) members.

The AMERICANS Act was introduced by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and is cosponsored by Senators Marshall, Marco Rubio (R-FL), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Rand Paul (R-KY), John Hoeven (R-ND), James Lankford (R-OK), James Risch (R-ID), Rick Scott (R-FL), Mike Braun (R-IN), and Steve Daines (R-MT).

Background on the Defending Freedom of Conscience for Cadets and Midshipmen Act:

This legislation would:

  • Clarify that cadets and midshipmen cannot be denied graduation for not being vaccinated against COVID-19;
  • Prevent cadets and midshipmen from being dismissed from their service academy as a result of refusing to be vaccinated (i.e. for disciplinary reasons for refusing the order to be vaccinated); and
  • Prevent any cadet who is not allowed to commission due to their COVID-19 vaccination status from being subject to repayment claims.

The Defending Freedom of Conscience for Cadets and Midshipmen Act was introduced by Senator Marco Rubio and is cosponsored by Senators Marshall, Mike Crapo (R-ID), Jim Risch (R-ID), Mike Braun (R-IN), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Rick Scott (R-FL), Roger Wicker (R-MS), John Hoeven (R-ND), and Steve Daines (R-MT).