GOP Lawmakers Call On Biden To Reverse COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

A group of Republican lawmakers are calling on the Biden administration to reassess the U.S. Coast Guard’s policy for “religious exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccination order,” which will likely force the involuntary discharge of a service member whom President Joe Biden thanked last month for his “heroic work.”

Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., along with 17 other congressmen, sent a letter to Biden, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Linda Fagan on Monday regarding the administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for U.S. Coast Guard members.

“Service members that have not obtained a COVID-19 vaccine risk an involuntary administrative separation. This policy has resulted in hundreds of service members from all branches getting involuntarily discharged,” the letter said.

The letter also noted Biden’s phone call with Aviation Survival Technician Second Class Zach Loesch last month and commended Loesch’s efforts during Hurricane Ian. Lieutenant Commander Christopher Hooper was also present.

Loesch, who reportedly saved the lives of a wheelchair-bound woman aged 94 and her husband, by breaking through a wall, then lifting them into helicopters, is due to be discharged by the U.S. Coast Guard. He did not receive the COVID-19 vaccine. He had requested and was denied a religion exemption.

“Petty Officer Second Class Zach Loesch is an American hero, and he deserves to be treated as such. Due to the vaccine mandate, his rescue mission responding to Hurricane Ian may be his last, as he is set to be involuntary discharged in 30 to 60 days,” Boebert told The Daily Signal in a statement. 

“The federal government’s failure to respect religious freedom and allow these exemptions is causing the military to lose talented individuals like Petty Officer Loesch,” Boebert added. “It’s time to end these mandates and support our troops’ religious freedom!”

The U.S. Coast Guard has received over 1,200 religious exemption requests, but only 12 have been approved, the letter stated. The letter was also signed, among others, by Chip Roy (Republican from Texas), Dan Bishop (R-N.C.), Any Biggs (R-Ariz.) and Diana Harshbarger (R-Tenn.).

Loesch is also speaking out about the vaccine mandate and its impact on his job, which he said he feels he was “born to do.”

“If I had asked any of the people I saved yesterday if they wanted to come with me even though I am unvaccinated, every single one of them would have said ‘yes,” Loesch told The Daily Signal.

“It just sucks that [Biden] thanked me yet the vaccine mandate is what’s kicking me out. I just love my job, and I’m really good at it. It is a horrible job. I feel like this is the job that I was born to do,” he added.

Due to the COVID-19 mandate, nearly 20,000 service personnel will be discharged in the coming months. Fox News reported. Biden said that COVID-19 pandemicDuring an interview with CBS last month, it was over.

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