Rep. Chris Smith, a staunch advocate for those who serve in uniform, this week introduced new legislation—H.R. 7570—that would require top-ranking military officials to reinstate U.S. service members.
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) meets with Bill Borowsky Sr. from Point Pleasant Borough and two Marines—Bill Borowsky Jr. and Rocco Russo—who were discharged from duty as a result of President Biden’s COVID vaccine mandate.
Smith’s new legislation—H.R. 7570—would reinstate the two Marines and hundreds of others who want to voluntarily return to the military after being wrongfully discharged solely on the basis of refusing to take the COVID vaccine. seeking to return to service after being forcibly discharged from duty as a result of President Biden’s COVID vaccine mandate.
Smith, who has authored more than a dozen laws to help veterans and their families, said his legislation comes in response to meetings with constituents—including a Marine from Ocean County—who want to rejoin the military after being discharged earlier this year for deciding to not take the COVID vaccine.
“My legislation will ensure that our brave men and women in uniform who were unjustly punished because of their personal medical or moral decisions receive the benefits they deserve and have the opportunity to continue serving our great Nation,” said Rep. Smith, who has served as chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
“These forced discharges are no way to treat American heroes who sacrifice so much and put their lives on the line to preserve and defend our safety,” said Smith.
Hundreds of service members have reportedly been discharged already over Biden’s vaccine mandate, including Marine Bill Borowsky Jr. from Point Pleasant Borough. That number is likely to grow as tens of thousands of service members remain unvaccinated.
“I would like to thank Congressman Smith for hearing the voices that no one else would listen to,” said Bill Borowsky Jr. “Not only is he listening, he’s taking action. Thank you Congressman Chris Smith.”
“As the dad of a Marine who was separated from his unit because of the Biden vaccination mandate, words cannot describe how grateful I am to Congressman Chris Smith,” said Bill’s father, Bill Borowsky Sr. “Congressman Smith’s track record on helping our veterans over his many years in office is unmatched. Knowing that he is fighting for my son and all of those in the same situation is both encouraging and comforting.”
Smith’s legislation would ensure that those who want to voluntarily return to the military after being wrongfully discharged solely on the basis of refusing to take the COVID vaccine are re-enlisted at their same rank and grade.
The bill would also provide additional protections for service members who do not wish to return by ensuring that their discharge is honorable and securing the GI bill benefits and pensions they are owed for their service to the country.
“No one should lose their jobs or pensions because they do not want the COVID vaccine—especially our courageous service members who step up to defend the very freedoms we enjoy,” Smith said.
“I thank Congressman Smith and his colleagues for fighting to do what’s right for those who scarified for our freedom,” Bill Borowsky Sr. added.
Smith, who believes that COVID vaccines should be voluntary, took several legislative actions last year to oppose Biden’s order, including cosponsoring H.R. 3860—which would overturn the military vaccine mandate—and signing a discharge petition that would force a House vote on the legislation if it received the signatures of more than half of the Congress.
Additional legislation that Smith has cosponsored to overturn Biden’s vaccine mandates include:
- H.R. 6017, the Parental Rights Protection Act, which prohibits COVID vaccine mandates for minors and requires parental consent for vaccination of minors;
- H.J.Res. 65, to use the Congressional Review Act to block regulations mandating vaccines for employees of private companies;
- H.R. 5908, the Stop Vaccine Mandates Act, which nullifies Biden’s executive order on federal employees;
- H.R. 6016, the Fairness for Federal Contractors Act, which prohibits vaccine mandates for federal contractors; and
- H.R. 6304, the Stop Federal Vaccine Mandates for Employees Act, which prevents the Occupational Safety and Health Administration from issuing emergency standards that include a vaccine or drug mandate.