By Corinne Murdock |
Governor Doug Ducey shared on Thursday that he and 20 other governors petitioned Congress to end the Biden administration’s military vaccine mandate.
The 21-member coalition, led by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee through the Republican Governors Association (RGA), urged congressional leadership in a letter to end the vaccine mandate implemented by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin last August. The coalition noted that more service members were leaving than were being recruited.
“The Biden vaccine mandate on our military creates a national security risk that severely impacts our defense capabilities abroad and our state readiness here at home,” stated the coalition.
In October, the National Guard and Army disclosed that they missed their recruiting target by 10 and 25 percent, respectively. Last month, the Armed Forces revealed that they’ve discharged 8,000 members since implementing the vaccine mandate.
The governors warned that the falling National Guard forces would hinder natural disaster and emergency operations in their states. The coalition reminded the congressional leaders that President Joe Biden told 60 Minutes that “the pandemic is over” in September. However, multiple, anonymous White House officials attempted to walk back Biden’s statement through interviews with mainstream outlets favored by the administration like Politico and Washington Post.
In addition to Ducey and Lee, Governors Kay Ivey (Alabama), Asa Hutchinson (Arkansas), Ron DeSantis (Florida), Brad Little (Idaho), Eric Holcomb (Indiana), Kim Reynolds (Iowa), Tate Reeves (Mississippi), Mike Parson (Missouri), Greg Gianforte (Montana), Pete Ricketts (Nebraska), Chris Sununu (New Hampshire), Doug Burgum (North Dakota), Kevin Stitt (Oklahoma), Henry McMaster (South Carolina), Kristi Noem (South Dakota), Greg Abbott (Texas), Spencer Cox (Utah), Glenn Youngkin (Virginia), and Mark Gordon (Wyoming) signed the letter.
Seven RGA members that didn’t sign onto the letter were Governors Brian Kemp (Georgia), Larry Hogan (Maryland), Charlie Baker (Massachusetts), Ralph Torres (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands), Mike Dewine (Ohio), Phil Scott (Vermont), and Jim Justice (West Virginia).
Though Ducey issued support on this issue to end the military vaccine mandate, it’s unlikely it will be a priority for his successor. Governor-elect Katie Hobbs praised the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate last September in a statement to the Arizona Mirror.
“Vaccines are our best path to defeat this pandemic and keep our economy open. This is the right move to protect Arizonans and our economic recovery,” stated Hobbs.
In mid-October, Hobbs indicated in a campaign press release that she was supportive of sweeping vaccine mandates. Hobbs’ campaign did so by highlighting excerpts from a CNN opinion piece denouncing her Republican opponent, Kari Lake, for opposing vaccine mandates.
However, just days later, Hobbs signaled neutrality on the subject of requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for K-12 attendance. Hobbs told C-SPAN that she hadn’t considered whether or not children should be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in order to attend school.
In April, Ducey signed HB2498 into law, prohibiting state and local governments from mandating the COVID-19 vaccine.