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House passes $858 billion defense bill that ends military COVID-19 vaccine mandate

 UPI News logo: MainLogo UPI News 12/8/2022 Doug Cunningham

Dec. 8 (UPI) -- The U.S. House Thursday passed an $858 billion defense bill on a 350-80 vote. It rescinds the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for military personnel.

The House Defense Bill is $45 billion higher than Biden's budget request and provides a 4.6% pay raise for military personnel plus $800 million for Ukraine and up to $10 billion over five years in security assistance for Taiwan.

President Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin have said they oppose dropping the vaccine requirement.

According to the Defense Health Agency, military members must get a variety of vaccines while serving, including for measles, the flu, hepatitis A and B, meningococcal disease, polio, tetanus, chickenpox, diphtheria and pertussis. But he COVID-19 vaccine requirement was the only one dropped in this legislation.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said revoking the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for military personnel was "a victory for our military and for common sense."

Democratic House Armed Services Committee Chair Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., said on the House floor Thursday that it was "the right time" to end the military COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

By party, 180 Democrats and 149 Republicans voted yes. Opposed were 62 Republicans and 39 Democrats.


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