Congressman Doug Lamborn introduces legislation to ‘protect U.S. Service Academy students from being punished for refusing Covid-19 vaccine’

*NOTE: This is a stock photo.
*NOTE: This is a stock photo.(Calah Thompson / USMC)
Published: May. 27, 2022 at 8:37 AM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (PRESS RELEASE) - Today, Congressman Doug Lamborn introduced the Defending Freedom of Conscience for Cadets and Midshipmen Act. The legislation would protect cadets and midshipmen at the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA), U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Military Academy (West Point), U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy from being punished for their choice not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The United States Air Force Academy recently announced that unvaccinated seniors would not be commissioned. Cadets and midshipmen who do not commission could be forced to repay tuition, room, and board expenses for their time at the Academy. 

Representatives Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Vicky Hartzler (MO-04), Bob Good (VA-05), Bill Posey (FL-08), Thomas Massie (KY-04), Mary Miller (IL-15), Mo Brooks (AL-5), Matt Gaetz (FL-01), Diana Harshbarger (TN-01), and Bill Huizenga (MI-02) are original cosponsors. In addition, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (FL) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate earlier this week. 

I am deeply concerned about the decisions being made at the Pentagon that would penalize cadets for choosing not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Congressman Doug Lamborn. “They are even considering asking them to pay back hundreds of thousands in tuition.”

These young men and women made the patriotic and selfless decision to apply themselves academically and serve their nation at one of our U.S. Service Academies. It is an honor to stand up for the constitutional rights of these young men and women, and I thank Senator Rubio for his partnership in introducing this legislation. I won’t stop fighting to protect those who protect us.” 

It is outrageous to punish young men and women who want nothing more than to serve their nation,” Senator Marco Rubio said. “These are the types of ridiculous, unnecessarily punitive measures that discourage patriotic Americans from joining the military. The Academy should stop playing politics and focus on preparing cadets and midshipmen for their future service.”

Specifically, the Defending Freedom of Conscience for Cadets and Midshipmen Act would: -Clarify that cadets and midshipmen cannot be denied graduation for not being vaccinated against COVID-19;-Prevent cadets and midshipmen from being dismissed from their service academy as a result of refusing to be vaccinated (i.e. for disciplinary reasons for refusing the order to be vaccinated); and-Prevent any cadet who is not allowed to commission due to their COVID-19 vaccination status from being subject to repayment claims.

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