House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the military’s vaccine mandate will be lifted or the national defense bill will not move forward.
“We’re working through what is the [National Defense Authorization Act], the national defense bill, we will secure lifting that vaccine mandate on our military. Because what we’re finding is, they’re kicking out men and women that have been serving. … That’s the first victory of having a Republican majority, and we’d like to have more of those victories, and we should start moving those now,” McCarthy told host Maria Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures.“
The White House said Saturday that the Biden administration was considering repealing the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate after speaking with McCarthy.
“Leader McCarthy raised this with the president and the president told him he would consider it,” said White House spokesperson Olivia Dalton, according to Reuters. “The secretary of defense has recommended retaining the mandate, and the president supports his position. Discussions about the NDAA are ongoing.”
McCarthy met with President Biden last week, according to the interview, and he said he “laid out very clearly what the difference will be with the new Republican majority.
“You’re saying in the NDAA, which we’ll drop next week, the vaccine mandate for the military will be lifted,” Bartiromo followed up in the interview.
“Yes, it will. Otherwise, the bill will not move,” McCarthy responded. “I’ve been very clear with the president. The president … worked with me on this. This is the first sign of having divided government, you got some compromise here. And we’ve got something that Republicans have been working very hard, and a number of Democrats too, trying to find success. But one party rule would never allow that to go forward. And now we’re going to have success.”
The comments come after more than 20 Republican governors sent a letter to Biden asking that his administration remove the mandate, saying it has hurt the U.S. National Guard’s ability to recruit troops. Those troops are activated by governors to respond to natural disasters or unrest.
Fox News Digital reached out to the White House regarding McCarthy’s comments but did not immediately receive a reply.
The Associated press contributed to this article.