The White House said it “strongly opposes” a provision in the 2022 defense spending bill that would prevent the US Department of Defense from firing soldiers who refuse to receive coronavirus vaccines.
The White House clarified in a statement on Wednesday that Section 716 of the said bill would limit military commanders’ options in disciplining those who do not comply with the mandatory vaccination.
“To enable the regular force to fight with discipline, commanders must have the ability to issue orders and take appropriate disciplinary action,” the statement added.
The Pentagon ordered all soldiers to be vaccinated last month, and has not ruled out prosecuting those who refuse.
According to Pentagon data, more than 800,000 soldiers out of 1.4 million still need to get doses of the vaccine.