Sen. Marshall Writes Leadership Requesting the NDAA Includes his Amendment to Prevent Dishonorable Discharges for Servicemembers choosing to not get Vaccinated
(Washington, D.C., December 3, 2021) – With the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) breaking down once again, U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. has written a letter to Senate and House Armed Services Committee leaders, Jack Reed (D-RI), Jim Risch (R-ID), Adam Smith (D-WA), and Mike Rogers (R-AL) requesting they include his amendment to prevent the Biden Administration from giving servicemembers a dishonorable discharge for choosing not to get the COVID vaccine. Similar language unanimously passed the House Armed Service Committee and was included in the final House bill which passed with 316 votes – including 181 democrats. In the letter, the Senator said in part,
“…As a former U.S. Army physician, I believe the vaccine has saved countless lives and vaccinating our service members against COVID-19 is an important effort. However, reports of adverse actions being taken, or threatened, by military leadership at all levels are antithetical to our fundamental American values. The religious and medical rights of our brave men and women should be respected, particularly when they put their lives on the line to protect ours. Service members who choose not to receive the vaccine, and are subsequently separated from the service, should not be treated like felons and given a dishonorable discharge…”
Full text of Senator Marshall’s letter:
Dear Chairman Reed and Ranking Member Inhofe, Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Rodgers:
As you finalize the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022, I respectfully request that you include Marshall Amendment #4093 in its final passage. The amendment, similar to S.2780 COVID–19 Vaccine Dishonorable Discharge Prevention Act, was offered with 15 cosponsors. It would ensure service members who choose not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine receive an honorable discharge should they be separated from service.
On August 24 2021, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin released a memorandum announcing that all service members including Active Duty, Reserves, and the National Guard would be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The Department of Defense then issued guidance stating that service members who refuse the vaccine will face “administrative or non-judicial punishment [under UCMJ] – to include relief of duties or discharge.” While exemptions may be provided on a case-by-case basis, guidance regarding service members’ punishment for refusing the vaccine remains unclear. Additionally, several deadlines for the service branches have passed and thousands of administrative exemptions, medical exemptions, and religious accommodations are still pending.
As a former U.S. Army physician, I believe the vaccine has saved countless lives and vaccinating our service members against COVID-19 is an important effort. However, reports of adverse actions being taken, or threatened, by military leadership at all levels are antithetical to our fundamental American values. The religious and medical rights of our brave men and women should be respected, particularly when they put their lives on the line to protect ours. Service members who choose not to receive the vaccine, and are subsequently separated from the service, should not be treated like felons and given a dishonorable discharge – losing their right to ownership of a firearm, access to the GI bill, VA medical benefits, VA home loans, military funeral honors, and ability to re-enlist. Any discharge other than honorable denotes a dereliction of duty or a failure to serve the United States and its people to the best of the ability of an individual.
Congress must protect our service members and act to prevent a crisis in the United States military. Thank you for your consideration of this important legislation.
Roger Marshall, M.D.
You may click HERE or on the image below to watch a highlight video of Senator Marshall’s fight against these dishonorable discharges:
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.”
Since 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 has offered his legislation as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.
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.
Senator Marshall has been leading the fight in the U.S. Senate to halt President Biden’s vaccine mandate and to get the Administration to recognize the importance of natural immunity.
Yesterday, all 50 Senate Democrats voted against an amendment offered by Senator Marshall that would have defunded each of Joe Biden’s COVID vaccine mandates. The votes come on the heels of the Administration acknowledging earlier this year they didn’t have authority to put the mandates; multiple federal courts putting a stop to the OSHA mandate, as well as the federal contractor and CMS mandates; and the White House even delaying implementation of their mandate for federal workers until after the Holidays. You may click HERE to watch Senator Marshall’s remarks.
Following numerous roundtable discussions in Kansas City, Topeka, and Wichita with union workers who are literally faced with the decision of job or jab, Senator Marshall requested leaders of the Senate HELP, Agriculture, Small Business, and Energy Committees to hold hearings with Kansas union workers to discuss the vaccine mandates. These workers are at risk of losing their jobs over the mandate and in turn further exacerbating the labor shortage and supply chain crisis, and further stifling economic recovery. You may click HERE or on the image below for a recap video of Senator Marshall’s visits with union workers.
In September, Senator Marshall spoke on the Senate floor about an amendment he offered to the government spending package to prohibit funding for implementing or enforcing the Biden Administration’s COVID vaccine mandate on private companies. All 50 Senate Republicans supported Senator Marshall’s amendment. You may click HERE to watch Senator Marshall’s remarks.
In opposition to Biden’s vaccine mandate on businesses, Senator Marshall joined his colleagues in demanding a Congressional Review of President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate on private employees before it goes into effect and oppose this unlawful, unnecessary federal command.
Senator Marshall joined his colleagues to introduce the Prevent Unconstitutional Vaccine Mandates for Interstate Commerce Act. As the Biden Administration is working to enforce vaccine mandates for businesses merely seeking to engage in interstate commerce, the legislation would protect the privacy of Americans’ personal health information and prohibit the Department of Transportation and other federal agencies from requiring proof of vaccination or the use of a vaccine passport for such activities.
Senator Marshall helped introduce the Keeping Our COVID-19 Heroes Employed Act to save essential workers from being fired due to President Biden’s sweeping vaccine mandate.
Senator Marshall questioned U.S. Department of Labor Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training nominee Jose Javier Rodriguez recently on how he plans to handle the upcoming spike in unemployment rates caused by President Biden’s vaccine mandate. You may click HERE to watch the exchange.
Senator Marshall questioned U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona on their intent to mandate vaccines for students in public schools despite the possibility of the CDC acknowledging natural immunity. You may click HERE to watch the exchange.
Senator Marshall penned an op-ed for The Hill, highlighting the importance of T-cell testing and natural immunity research in helping parents make informed decisions on COVID-19 vaccinations.
Senator Marshall led a letter with 14 other health care providers in Congress to the CDC urging the agency to acknowledge natural immunity from COVID-19. The letter also urges the CDC to work with other federal agencies to ensure all future policies and federally-funded research take into account natural immunity.