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Congressman Pat Fallon Sends Letters to Armed Services Demanding Halt to COVID-19 Related Discharge Signing Bonus Repayment

Congressman Pat Fallon (TX-04) along with nine fellow House Republicans sent follow-up letters today to the Secretaries of the U.S. ArmyNavy and Air Force demanding that they halt their policy of forcing U.S. servicemembers who were discharged for their refusal to take the COVID-19 vaccine to repay their signing bonuses. These letters were reported on by the Daily Caller earlier today.

These letters are in response to Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Cisneros’ reply to an earlier letter from Congressman Fallon addressed to Secretary of Defense Austin which stated, “the Secretaries of the Military Departments have the authority on a case-by-case basis to grant an exemption to such repayment.”

Since the Department of Defense mandated the COVID-19 vaccine in November of 2021, more than 8,000 individuals have been separated from military service. Congress has made itself clear that not only is this policy wrong, but it is also misguided. Section 525 of the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act of 2023 clearly rescinded the policy in question, seeing as pursuing repayment runs counter to personnel and policy objectives.

"As the U.S. Military contends with an unprecedented recruitment crisis, we must do everything we can to right the ship,” said Congressman Pat Fallon. “It was bad enough the military kicked out servicemembers for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine, it is criminal that they continue to pursue repayment of bonuses for those separated against their will. The Armed Services need to focus on meeting their recruiting targets and retaining qualified servicemen and women, rather than enforcing punitive and divisive policies. Each service has the authority to end this practice, and I urge them to do so immediately." 

Each of the letters sent today were cosigned by Representatives Greg Steube (FL-17), Ben Cline (VA-06), Lauren Boebert (CO-03), Josh Brecheen (OK-02), Matt Rosendale (MT-02), Anna Paulina Luna (FL-13), Neal Dunn (FL-02), Ronny Jackson (TX-13), and Andy Biggs (AZ-05).