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House votes to rescind military vaccine mandate


I don’t understand the politics of this. As policy it’s of course a ridiculously bad decision, that apparently the Biden administration opposes but is going to get bullied into somehow or the other:

The House voted on Thursday to pass sweeping legislation that would authorize $858 billion in national defense funding and rescind the US military’s Covid vaccine mandate. The measure passed with wide bipartisan support with a tally of 350 to 80.

House lawmakers approved a final negotiated version of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2023, which sets the policy agenda and authorizes funding for the Department of Defense. Following passage in the House, the measure will next need to go to the Senate to be approved before it can be sent to President Joe Biden to be signed into law. . . .

The provision to rescind the military’s Covid vaccine mandate comes after congressional Republicans pushed for its repeal. In a statement Tuesday night, House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy said, “the end of President Biden’s military COVID vaccine mandate is a victory for our military and for common sense.”

The White House declined to say on Wednesday whether President Biden will sign the must-pass annual defense bill if it includes the provision to rescind the military Covid vaccine mandate, reiterating that the president continues to support a mandate but leaving the door open to a repeal.

“We continue to believe that repealing the vaccine mandate is a mistake. Making sure our troops are ready to defend this country and prepared to do so that remains the President’s priority and the vaccine requirement for Covid does just that,” National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby told reporters Wednesday when pressed specifically on whether Biden would sign the NDAA if the mandate stayed in the final legislation.

But while White House officials have deferred to — and explicitly sided with — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s opposition to rescinding the mandate, the inclusion of the provision in the final compromise agreement underscores a reality that played out behind the scenes in recent days. Democrats concluded that including the GOP priority was a necessity in order to get the must-pass policy bill across the finish line. And White House officials have quietly acknowledged that means their opposition to the vaccine language will not get in the way of the bill’s passage.

It’s a “must-pass” bill you see, so that means that if the GOP is willing to nuke it over the vaccine mandate then the Democrats just have to fold, because [step in argument missing].

BTW if you’re wondering defense MILITARY spending is now up 65% in real terms since 1980, at the height of the Cold War.

. . . You cannot be serious (smashes racket to smithereens; hurls headband):

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