Members of the conservative Freedom Caucus are calling on leaders within the GOP to delay passage of the annual defense bill until after the new year if the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for service members is not lifted, The Hill reported.
Speculating on a Republican majority post-midterms in either the House or the Senate, the group says it can "rework" the legislation in January.
"Congressional Republicans still have the opportunity to stand in defense of our Nation's military — if we stand united," the group wrote in a letter to Republican party leaders Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Tuesday.
"Just as they did in July," the group continued, "Democrats will need Republican votes to pass the NDAA, and the House Freedom Caucus urges all Republicans to hold the line to force Democrats to reverse the policies of President Biden undermining our Nation's military and its combat readiness, starting with the vaccine mandate."
On Tuesday, the Senate began debate on its National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The final vote is expected after the midterm elections. The Senate vote would then reconcile with the House version of the NDAA, which passed in June, The Hill adds, "in a 329-101 vote, with 39 Democrats and 62 Republicans voting against the legislation."
In addition to the Freedom Caucus's opposition to the NDAA over vaccine mandates, the group also opposed the funding bill regarding the "prioritization of 'diversity' and 'inclusion' over combat readiness."
The caucus also made it a point in a list of one of its four demands regarding the NDAA that a special inspector general should investigate the United States' involvement in Ukraine.
"Republicans," the letter continued, "must demand that the NDAA: (1) fully repeals the vaccine mandate and allows service members involuntarily discharged to be reinstated without penalty; (2) ends the contamination of our military by radical Leftist 'woke' ideologies and the prioritization of politics over combat readiness; (3) halts wasteful spending on 'Green New Deal' pet climate projects; and (4) establishes a Special Inspector General on U.S. involvement in Ukraine."
The Freedom Caucus says if those demands are not met, Republicans should delay passage of the funding bill until after the start of the next Congress when the group expects to have "a new Republican Majority to comprehensively rework the NDAA to serve America's service members instead of Leftist political agendas."
Polls indicate Republicans are likely to win the House, but the Senate is a toss-up.
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