Republicans in the House and Senate filed legislation Wednesday to reinstate the approximately 8,000 service members who were separated from the military for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine, Military Times reported.
“I’m glad that we were able to remove the COVID-19 vaccine mandate last Congress, but there is more work to do,” said Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. “[This bill] would correct the wrongs done to unvaccinated service members who were discharged for exercising their conscience.”
The legislation would reinstate those who want their jobs back and promote any service member who was demoted for refusing the shots. If a separated service member didn’t want to return to service, their discharge status would be changed to honorable.
Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder recently said that “we are not pursuing, as a matter of policy, backpay for those who refused the vaccine. At the time that those orders were refused, it was a lawful order.”
Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Leona C. Hendrickson