On Thursday House Democrats and Republicans bucked the Biden Administration and approved a defense bill that removed COVID-19 vaccination for US service members.
If passed by the Senate next week, the landmark removal of the controversial requirement would mark the end of service members being discharged or punisher over the experimental vaccine.
The bill passed the house easily with a 250-80 vote, which would not have been possible without the support of both parties.
The bill also includes a 4.6% raise for service members, as well as increasing military aid to Ukraine and bolstering the United States military forces.
Since the mandate has been in place, there have been nearly 3,400 service members who have been discharged from service. According to the bill, those services members will not be reinstated.
John Kirby, National Security Council spokesman addressed Biden’s and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s disapproval of the mandate’s removal.
Kirby said, “Secretary Austin’s been very clear that he opposes the repeal of the vaccine mandate, and the president actually concurs with the secretary of defense
He went on to say the Biden administration “continues to believe that all Americans, including those in the armed forces, should be vaccinated and boosted for COVID-19 … Vaccines are saving lives, including our men and women in uniform.”