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Idaho Senators, Colleagues Defend Servicemembers from Vaccine Punishment with AMERICANS Act

Washington, D.C.–U.S. Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch (both R-Idaho) joined Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and 11 of their colleagues in introducing the Allowing Military Exemptions, Recognizing Individual Concerns About New Shots (AMERICANS) Act of 2022. 

The legislation counters the Biden Administration’s efforts to coerce and punish service members who decline the COVID-19 vaccine and introduces accountability measures in response to U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) efforts to undermine transparency.

“A one-size-fits-all COVID-19 vaccine mandate is no way to thank the women and men of our Armed Forces for their service,” said Crapo.  “The DOD should be seeking ways to retain service members, not discharge them for politically-motivated reasons.”

“Our service men and women, who serve to defend our democracy and individual liberties, should not be punished for their individual health decisions,” said Risch.  “The Department of Defense must recognize the merit and service of our military rather than their vaccination status.”

This bill would:

·        Require the Secretary of Defense to make every effort to retain unvaccinated servicemembers;

·        Strengthen language to ensure service members receive discharge classifications commensurate with their record of service;

·        Require the DOD to report the number and type of COVID-19 vaccine religious exemptions that have been denied; and

·        Create an exemption from COVID-19 vaccine requirements for service members with natural immunity.

The measure would also protect service academy students and Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) members in the same way.

The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), John Hoeven (R-North Dakota), James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), Rick Scott (R-Florida), Mike Braun (R-Indiana) and Steve Daines (R-Montana).

Last week, Senators Crapo and Risch sent a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin raising concerns about the number and nature of military discharges for not receiving a COVID vaccine.

To see a full list of Senator Crapo’s efforts to fight against the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates, click HERE

Read the bill here.