EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., is leading the GOP charge in the Senate against the military COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
In an exclusive interview with Fox News Thursday, Marshall expressed distain with the White House’s decision to penalize service members who refuse to comply with the vaccine mandate, up to and including discharge from the services.
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Marshall explained that what inspired him to get support for the COVID-19 Dishonorable Discharge Prevention Act, introduced in Sept., was Biden administration support for dishonorably discharging unvaccinated service members.
“What really lit my fire was when I heard the White House say, we want them have a dishonorable discharge.”
“So next week is Veterans Day. We’re honoring them this week of the president of the United States is dishonoring our military members,” said Marshall.
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“I would use the term bullying, you know, the military has its ways,” Marshal told Fox News, referring to his own time in the Army Reserve for seven years and his father’s, brother’s and own son’s military service.
“So I get it. They’re able to bully people if they want you to do something and they’re able to put its peer pressure plus. And you know, it works.”
The Kansas senator said that dishonorable discharge is “the biggest” threat facing military members who are doing their duty and love their jobs.
He outlined a series of penalties associated with a dishonorable discharge including surrendering of firearms or ammunition, termination of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) home loans and medical benefits, and no access to the GI Bill for furthering education.
During a press conference Thursday morning, GOP Sens. Marshall, Rick Scott of Florida, Roger Wicker of Mississippi and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota were joined by First Liberty Institute’s general counsel, Mike Berry, to discuss the COVID-19 Discharge Prevention Act, an amendment they introduced in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Berry is representing 40 active-duty Navy SEALs seeking religious exemptions to the vaccine mandate.
The White House has said it “strongly opposes” the bill introduced by GOP senators.
“To enable a uniformed force to fight with discipline, commanders must have the ability to give orders and take appropriate disciplinary measures,” the White House said in a statement.
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“The department will make available a full range of resources to service members, including individual and professional medical advice, to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccine and to ensure they are fully informed about vaccination,” the White House continued.
Marshall also told Fox News that vaccine mandate is going to “exacerbate inflation.”
“This vaccine mandate is going to worsen an already bad labor shortage problem that’s going to create more supply bottlenecks and that’s going to lead to more inflation, higher unemployment rates. So you’re going to see this vicious, vicious cycle. So Joe Biden’s biggest problems? He’s just going to keep making worse.”
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Throughout the media availability, the senators called on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to bring a vote on the NDAA to the Senate floor.
Schumer has not yet set a date for a vote on the defense spending bill.
Fox News Brooke Singman contributed to this report.