WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-21) introduced the Vaccine Mandate Reenlistment Act, which would ensure that any soldier, sailor, Airman or Marine who was discharged for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine would be able to rejoin the military at his or her rank and pay grade prior to the discharge. This bill is a step towards fulfilling the commitment to America made by the House of Representatives’ Republican majority: to protect America’s national security and build a nation that is safe and built on freedom.
“We are facing multiple national security threats - now is not the time to play politics with servicemembers who are committed to serving the United States,” said Rep. Mast. “While repealing the unconstitutional COVID-19 vaccine mandate in the military was a step in the right direction, we should finish what we started and give every servicemember discharged for exercising his or her right to medical freedom an opportunity to return to the military.”
Before the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2022 rescinded the COVID-19 vaccine requirements in the military, it was reported that at least 8,100 soldiers, sailors, Airmen and Marines were discharged from the United States Armed Forces. Despite the repeal, the Pentagon has not provided those discharged the opportunity to return to service at their previous rank and pay grade. With recruiting shortages impacting every branch, the Department of Defense cannot afford to discharge qualified and trained individuals.
Rep. Mast was joined by 33 other Members of Congress: Representatives Jeff Duncan (SC-03), Matt Gaetz (FL-01), Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02), Diana Harshbarger (TN-01), Brian Babin (TX-36), Bill Posey (FL-08), Dan Bishop (NC-08), Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Bill Huizenga (MI-04), Rick Allen (GA-12), Lisa McClain (MI-09), Mike Kelly (PA-16), John Rutherford (FL-05), Greg Murphy (NC-03), Greg Steube (FL-17), Claudia Tenney (NY-24), Mary Miller (IL-15), Tim Burchett (TN-02), Michael Cloud (TX-27), Mike Bost (IL-12), Scott Perry (PA-10), Thomas Massie (KY-04), Pete Stauber (MN-08), Bill Johnson (OH-06), Wesley Hunt (TX-38), Ben Cline (VA-06), John Moolenaar (MI-02), Pat Fallon (TX-04), Barry Loudermilk (GA-11), Brad Finstad (MN-01), Ryan Zinke (MT-01), Byron Donalds (FL-19).
The full text of the legislation can be read here.