(Press Release) Congressman John Rutherford (FL-05) introduced H.R. 3458, the Reinstate Our Troops Act, to require the Secretary of Defense to swiftly reinstate all servicemembers discharged for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine after requesting an exemption during the Department of Defense’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
“Congress rescinded the DoD’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate last year, but for servicemembers who requested an exemption and were still discharged under the mandate, the process to continue their service is arduous,” said Congressman Rutherford.
“For servicemembers discharged for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine, my Reinstate Our Troops Act streamlines the pathway to return to military service without suffering further financial or professional loss.”
According to the military branches, over 8,000 servicemembers have been involuntarily discharged because of their vaccination status.
Servicemembers seeking to rejoin must petition their board of corrections or request a waiver before they are allowed to apply for reinstatement.
This process is onerous and offers no guarantee to servicemembers that they will be able to rejoin the military once their petition is reviewed.
The Reinstate Our Troops Act streamlines the reinstatement process by ensuring each branch of our military:
- Reinstates separated servicemembers, who sought a medical, religious, or administrative exemption, at their previously held paygrades;
- Ensures their previous discharge is upgraded to honorable;
- Honors all bonuses that were withheld or recouped due to discharge; and
- Expunges their records of any disciplinary language related to the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Reinstate Our Troops Act is supported by the following 25 cosponsors:
Representatives Scott DesJarlais (TN-4), Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14), Bill Posey (FL-08), Mike Collins (GA-10), Daniel Webster (FL-11), Jerry L. Carl (AL-01), Keith Self (TX-03) Mary E. Miller (IL-15), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-26), Gregory Murphy (NC-03), Victoria Spartz (IN-05), Alexander X. Mooney (WV-02), Claudia Tenney (NY-24), Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Nathaniel Moran (TX-01), George Santos (NY-03), Randy K. Weber, Sr. (TX-14), C. Scott Franklin (FL-18), Max L. Miller (OH-07), Aaron Bean (FL-04), Burgess Owen (UT-04), Gus M. Bilirakis (FL-12), Michael Guest (MS-03), Troy E. Nehls (TX-22), and Jay Obernolte (CA-23).
Congressman Rutherford currently serves on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies.