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Hours before the U.S. Army dropped COVID-19 policies, including the vaccine requirement, two GOP congressmen called out the Army for continuing to enforce the mandate for prospective West Point students in a letter obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The Daily Caller News Foundation received credible reports that the U.S. Military Academy at West Point was still requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for cadet candidates, even though the service had paused discharges for soldiers refusing the vaccine and largely removed vaccine restrictions from current cadets.
The Army’s policy reversal came just over 24 hours after Republican Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana and Mike Waltz of Florida sent a letter Thursday to the secretary of the Army’s top civilian assistant pressing for answers about West Point’s policies Thursday.
“It’s shocking the Army had not rescinded its vaccine mandate until apparently after they received our letter – within mere minutes,” Waltz told the DCNF, pledging to guard against “discrimination” at the military academies.
On Friday, the House Armed Services Committee announced a hearing on the military’s COVID-19 response was scheduled for Thursday.
“It shouldn’t have taken a letter and a hearing from Armed Services Republicans to convince the Army and West Point to follow the law and fully reverse a partisan mandate that’s been a complete disaster for individual service members and our military readiness,” Banks, who chairs House Armed Services Committee’s military personnel subcommittee, told the DCNF Monday.
Congress’ defense bill for 2023 legislated the end of the military vaccine mandate. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin rescinded orders to implement a vaccine mandate across the entire Department of Defense on Jan. 10 in compliance with Congress’ order.
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