If GOP Retakes Congress, It Should Defund Pentagon’s Vaccine Mandate in Defense Spending Bill: Rep. Massie

If GOP Retakes Congress, It Should Defund Pentagon’s Vaccine Mandate in Defense Spending Bill: Rep. Massie
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) in Washington on March 8, 2022. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

A Republican lawmaker and nearly 100 colleagues are seeking to prohibit any requirement for service members to receive a vaccination against COVID-19. This measure would put an end to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s August 2021 military vaccine mandate. Nearly two dozen Republican members of Congress have joined the effort in the past three months alone.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) introduced H.R.3860 in June 2021, over two months prior to Austin’s announcement of a mandate. He said it wasn’t a premonition, but insider information from whistleblowers that could foresee what was to come.

“Although Biden and his press secretary at the time were giving the impression that there would never be mandates, people in the military were telling me that paper was being pushed around to put the mandate in place,” Massie told The Epoch Times.

Acting on this information, he introduced the bill to specifically protect members of the military. “I never imagined that Biden would assert that he had the constitutional authority over anybody but the military,” he added.

Massie said many have asked him why his legislation is needed if there are already laws in place, like the permanent injunction granted in 2004 that brought the mandatory anthrax vaccine program to an end. With regard to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for service members, he said, “If I were a lawyer, I’d be suing the Secretary of Defense—but I’m a legislator.”

He is gravely concerned about the “false equivalency” between Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) products and those approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). Service members opposing the mandate point to its wording, and argue that it only applies to vaccines that have full approval from the FDA. Therefore, the Pentagon cannot force vaccines labeled as issued under EUA, they say.
Massie agrees with many service members, opposing the Department of Defense policy (pdf) that says the Cominarty and EUA Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are interchangeable. The Pentagon is “fudging” and it’s illegal, he said.

An Act of Congress

Massie said it’s not the executive or judicial branches of government, but Congress that has the sole authority to fund the government. And according to the text of his bill, “No Federal funds may be used to require a member of the Armed Forces to receive a vaccination against COVID-19.”

If the bill were to become law, Massie said, anybody who is in violation of the law when it passes would be violating the Antideficiency Act. “It basically says it’s against the law against the law to spend money that Congress has not appropriated,” he explained.

The bill would not only end the military vaccine mandate, but would prohibit retaliation, punishment, disparate treatment, mask requirements, and forced substandard housing conditions.

The lawmaker now hopes the bill to be included, in the form of an amendment, to the final version of the fiscal year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the annual defense spending bill. The House version of the NDAA was approved in June, and the Senate is set to vote of its version in November after the midterms. Any differences between the two versions will then be reconciled in conference.

In addition, members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus are taking it a step further, calling on Republicans to delay passage of the annual defense bill until after the new year, anticipating a Republican majority in either the House or the Senate after the midterms. A new Congress would allow the majority to “rework” the legislation, the caucus said.

And Massie doesn’t disagree. “If Republicans can be united on this,” he said, “we could surely defund the vaccine mandate in the NDAA.” According to the congressman, it would also “end all the wasted time and effort of the lawsuits and the pain and suffering that’s been brought on the military.”

With a GOP majority comes “subpoena power,” Massie added. “We can force the people who are harming our nation’s military to come and testify.” And according to Massie, “It’s really malpractice on the part of the Democrats not to be doing oversight on this issue [of the military vaccine mandate].”

Austin would be on his shortlist for questioning. “He and others would be called to task to produce the scientific data to back the mandate—but we all know, that doesn’t exist.”

“It’s past time for the entire chain of command to follow the data, to follow the science, and use some common sense,” Massie said. “Service members have lost confidence in their leadership, and this must be rectified.”

Massie said he is thankful for the “secret force” of service members behind his bill.

The Epoch Times has reached out to the Pentagon for comment.

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