Republican U.S. Reps Urge Defense Department to End Military Vaccine Mandate

A group of 47 members of Congress are urging the Secretary of the Department of Defense to “immediately revoke” the COVID-19 vaccine mandate he issued last August for all service members, civilian personnel, and contractors. They’ve also asked him to re-instate those who’ve already been discharged for noncompliance.

In a Sept. 15 letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, they wrote “to express our grave concern over the effect of the Department of Defense’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate on the readiness of our Armed Forces, particularly the U.S. Army.

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Biden Announces ‘Devastating’ Sanctions and Deployment of 7,000 Additional Troops to Europe

Joe Biden announced on Thursday that an additional 7,000 U.S. troops will be deployed to Germany, bringing the total of U.S. troops sent to Europe this month to 12,000. On February 2, 1,700 troops were ordered to Poland, and 300 to Germany. Another 3,000 troops were added to Poland on Feb. 11, as the crisis loomed.

The U.S. forces are being deployed to bolster NATO’s defenses as Russia continues its military incursion into Ukraine.

Speaking from the East Room of the White House, Biden stressed that U.S. soldiers will not be going to Ukraine and will not be fighting Russian troops.

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Federal Judge Upholds Vaccine Mandate for Oklahoma National Guard

On Tuesday, a district court judge ruled against the state of Oklahoma in its effort to block the coronavirus vaccine mandate for members of the state’s National Guard, The Hill reports.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot explained his reasoning in a 29-page ruling, in which he rejected a motion filed by Governor Kevin Stitt (R-Okla.) and Attorney General John O’Connor (R-Okla.) to indefinitely block the mandate; Judge Friot claimed that the plaintiffs’ claim was “without merit.”

“The court is required to decide this case on the basis of federal law, not common sense,” said Friot in his ruling. “But, either way, the result would be the same. The claims asserted by the Governor and his co-plaintiffs are without merit.”

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Sidney Powell Sues Defense Department over Vaccine Mandate

Former Trump attorney Sidney Powell announced Wednesday that she is suing the Defense Department in regards to their vaccine mandate.

According to The Hill, Powell is representing the Texas-based group “Defending the Republic” in a lawsuit against Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in regards to the military’s mandatory vaccination requirements.

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Defense Bill Sails Through the House with $24 Billion Increase

Supreme Court and Capitol building

The House late Thursday passed the National Defense Authorization Act after a marathon day of voting on hundreds of amendments as Congress continues work toward a government funding bill with a potential shutdown one week away.

The $768 billion defense bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, with 316 lawmakers voting in favor. It now heads to the Senate, where it is expected to pass and soon after become law as it has yearly for nearly six decades.

It provides an additional $24 billion for the defense department compared to last year’s legislation, an amount touted by both Washington Democratic Rep. Adam Smith and Alabama Republican Rep. Mike Rogers, the House Armed Services Committee’s chair and ranking member.

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Chief Diversity Officer Who Compared Trump to Hitler Reinstated After Defense Department Investigation

Richard Torres-Estrada

The US Special Operations Command reinstated its head of diversity on Thursday after an investigation concluded he did not violate any Defense Department policies in a series of controversial Facebook posts.

Richard Torres-Estrada was named Chief of Diversity & Inclusion for the Defense Department’s US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) in March, but was reassigned pending an investigation into his social media activity, which included a post comparing then-president Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler.

The investigation found that Torres-Estrada’s posts violated no Defense Department (DoD) policies and he could return to his job, Military Times reported Thursday.

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