WASHINGTON D.C.: The White House said the administration of President Joe Biden is considering a proposal from Republican leader Kevin McCarthy to repeal the U.S. military's COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
In an interview with Fox News, McCarthy, who is the top Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives and seeks to become Speaker, said he had won bipartisan agreement to lift the mandate at a White House meeting with Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.
The mandate will be potentially repealed as part of the $817 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), an annual Pentagon bill-setting policy that is expected to pass the Senate and House of Representatives this month, he added.
However, Biden had only agreed to consider the idea, the White House stressed.
"Leader McCarthy raised this with the president, and the president told him he would consider it. The secretary of defense has recommended retaining the mandate, and the president supports his position. Discussions about the NDAA are ongoing," White House spokesperson Olivia Dalton said.
Imposed in August 2021, the mandate requires all U.S. service members to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
in the interview, McCarthy said, "You know what I was able to achieve in that meeting? To be able to, we are going to see in the NDAA lift the vaccination mandate on our military men and women."
Republican conservatives, including several House lawmakers who are threatening to block McCarthy from becoming speaker when Republicans take control of the chamber on 3rd January, have strongly opposed the Pentagon's vaccine mandate.