Politics

Biden Under Pressure To Drop Vaccine Mandates For Federal Defense Contractors Over National Security Concerns

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Republican lawmakers are pressuring President Joe Biden to drop or pause his vaccine requirements for federal defense contractors over fears they will compromise national security supply chains.

The Washington Examiner reviewed a letter Alabama Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville sent to the White House Tuesday afternoon claiming that Biden’s “federal contractor vaccine mandate will have negative effects on our national security” and called on the president “to remove – or, at a minimum, delay and clarify – vaccination requirements on private companies and academic research institutions that are actively supporting the Department of Defense.”

“I share your desire to see our country through the COVID-19 pandemic as quickly as possible, and, I – like you – have elected to take the vaccine. But your administration’s mandate is short-sighted, ill-conceived, and threatens our national security,” Tuberville wrote in a letter sent to the White House on Tuesday. “The American warfighter is ultimately harmed when skilled workers leave the defense contractor workforce, a foreseeable consequence of your order.”

Tuberville specifically noted that Alabama alone employed nearly 100,000 federal contractors in 2020, and “more than 5,000 contractors who support the Department of Defense.”

“They provide capabilities to the Pentagon that are often difficult to replicate. Losing any sizable share of a small firms’ workforce means a direct reduction in the ‘economy and efficiency’ that your Order purports to seek to advance. When these firms are unable to perform, our country is at risk,” he continued. “It is quite possible that your mandate will result in individuals leaving the workforce to avoid the vaccine, thus, resulting in increased worker absences and labor costs, and decreased efficiency. During this time of increasing worry about the technological advances of near-peer adversaries, we should focus on policies that will ensure our national security interests are protected. This order does the opposite.”

“We will lose several thousand people,” Raytheon CEO Greg Hayes said on CNBC Tuesday. “It’s not just the prime contractors, but it’s also all of our subcontractors that need to follow that mandate as well.”

Tuberville’s letter follows on the heels of a similar offering from nearly a dozen Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee . On Oct. 22, those lawmakers petitioned the White House and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to suspend the Pentagon’s vaccine mandate for contractors over fears that it could lead to military supply chain problems.

“We strongly urge you to reconsider the manner in which you are seeking to address this issue so as not to harm the livelihood of civilian contractors, industry partners, and strategic goals of our armed services,” the letter reads. “Those who adamantly refuse the vaccine will accept termination. We will lose critical experience in skilled labor. We will lose opportunities for mentorship and on-the-job training from veteran craftsmen. In the long-term, we will miss quality control standards. We will face endemic cost overruns and rework as decades of lessons are not passed to the next generation.”

Roughly 100 employees at United Launch Alliance , a joint venture funded by Lockheed Martin and Boeing that contracts to both the Department of De… (Read more)

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