Tennessee Lawmakers Applaud the Repeal of the COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate in NDAA

Tennessee lawmakers across the state are applauding the passage of the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023 in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate.

Included in fiscal year 2023’s annual defense spending authorization bill is a 4.6% pay increase and the termination of the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for U.S. military service members.

The bill passed the House of Representatives on December 7th by a vote of 350-80 and the Senate on December 15th by a vote of 83-11. The bill now heads to President Biden’s desk to await signature before becoming law.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, who has repeatedly called for the repeal of the vaccine mandate, championed the passage of the NDAA, releasing in a statement, “For months, Tennessee has pushed back against the federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate placed on members of our military, and our efforts have paid off. In July, I called on the Biden administration to exempt members of the Tennessee National Guard as a matter of national security and state preparedness, and I recently led 20 fellow Republican governors in a letter urging Congress to repeal the overreaching mandate. Thanks to the partnership of Senator Marsha Blackburn and Tennessee’s congressional delegation, our troops can remain focused on their mission to defend Americans at home and abroad.”

In a press conference following the Senate’s passage of the NDAA, Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) also praised the repeal of the mandate and called on the White to publicly announce that President Biden will sign the NDAA into law with the COVID vaccine mandate repealed.

In addition, Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) released a statement highlighting “key priorities for Tennessee” scored in the NDAA, that read in part, “Equipping our service members to effectively defend our homeland is one of Congress’ most paramount responsibilities. This legislation not only increases pay for our honorable men and women in uniform, rescinds the COVID vaccine mandate for the military, and bolsters our national defense, but it also contains critical investments in Tennessee. I’m pleased the Senate passed this legislation that will enable the Volunteer State to remain at the forefront of protecting our Nation and strengthening America’s national security at a pivotal time.”

Following the bill’s passage of the House of Representatives earlier this month, many Tennessee representatives spoke out in favor of the bill as well.

Congressman David Kustoff (R-TN-08) tweeted at the time, “I’m proud to vote yes on this legislation that strengthens our military readiness, provides service members a 4.6% pay increase, counters the threat from China, & ends the vaccine mandate in our armed forces.”

Congressman John Rose (R-TN-06) also tweeted his support for the bill and also called on President Biden to apologize to and “re-enlist the 8,000+ dismissed service members” that were discharged due to the vaccine mandate.

Congresswoman Diana Harshbarger (R-TN-01) also called on the dismissed service members to be reinstated, tweeting, “Removing President Biden’s unjust vaccine mandate from this year’s NDAA is just the first step. It’s time for this administration to take accountability for targeting our men and women in uniform. Our fight is not over until every undue termination is reversed.”

Congressman Mark Green (R-TN-07) also championed the bill, tweeting, “I was proud to lead the bipartisan effort to repeal the military vaccine mandate in FY23’s #NDAA,” while Congressman Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN-03) added, “We will always support our military, and this year’s NDAA does just that.”

Not every Tennessee lawmaker supported the bill, however.

Democrat Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) voted against the bill. He explained his ‘nay’ vote on Twitter, stating, “We can’t keep writing blank checks for the Pentagon notorious for its wasteful spending on obsolete, unnecessary programs. I voted against the $858 billion defense bill because it is just too much when we have so many unmet domestic needs. We need to reset our priorities.”

Republican Congressman Tim Burchett (R-TN-02) also voted against the bill. Burchett cited his ‘nay’ vote was due in part to a recent audit of the Pentagon showing that “61% of their funds were unaccountable for,” and the fact that the NDAA does not “reinstate service members who refused to get a COVID vaccine,” among other things.

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.
Photo “National Guardsman Receiving COVID-19 Vaccine” by Oregon National Guard. CC BY 2.0.


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5 Thoughts to “Tennessee Lawmakers Applaud the Repeal of the COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate in NDAA”

  1. Horatio Bunce

    So no progress on being able to sue China for Wu-flu then? I thought that was what Blackburn and Green were working on. Or do they now know Fauci, Baric and Daszak are to blame and did nothing about that either? Still funding the NIH? NIAID? The fraudulent CDC? The glorious Department of Defense and those 46 bioweapon labs they built in Ukraine? Oh, gave them a raise too?

    1. Cannoneertwo

      Blackburn is working on getting in front of a TV camera.

  2. Joe Blow

    The Congress failed to go far enough by not forcing the reinstatement of those driven out for not taking the jab. The increasing number of lemmings in America that let the government control them are disgusting. I wonder if they will ever wake up to realize that the CDC, etc. just led them over a cliff.

  3. David Blackwell RN, BSN, CCM

    Never in my 25 years of bedside nursing have I ever seen something like this. Many of us in the healthcare profession, flabbergasted, and just ready to quit. I just had a talk with one of my managers yesterday about going back and waiting tables. Everything that I learned regarding bio ethics, the Nuremberg code, informed consent, assessing and teaching, being a patient advocate, has been thrown out the window. We rank 68th in outcomes, and our life expectancy has actually falling. Chronic childhood diseases have multiplied during Dr. Tony Fauci’s watch. It is very hard to stomach. When I go into assisted living facilities, and I see the generation that fought the Nazis, I get a lump in my throat when these old people tell me they are now on the fourth booster.

    1. Horatio Bunce

      And unfortunately, the TN Republican supermajority still doesn’t believe in individual liberty of bodily autonomy. Their law prohibiting Covid-19 discrimination based on killer gene therapy status expires next year. Just gave the unaccountable science denying mask nazis $5.5M to market the Fauci clot shots to kids. They would rather retain the power of unconstitutional lockdown executive orders and non-science mandates by Pfizer-sponsored dog muzzle shippers than let men be free.

      But already-bailed-out Ford wants a billion in taxpayer funds? Titans want ANOTHER stadium? Quick Cameron, it’s an “emergency”!