NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn is introducing a new legislation to prohibit federal funds from being used to require an Army National Guard member to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

The legislation comes as hundreds of Tennessee national guardsmen could be banned from service if they don’t comply with the federal mandate, and Thrusday was the deadline to get the shot.

“Our servicemembers are the bedrock of America,” Sen. Blackburn said. “Firing 40,000 Guardsmen for refusing the COVID vaccine would be both a complete disgrace and a threat to our national security. I am honored to stand beside our National Guardsmen and women by introducing this legislation to protect them from President Biden’s forever pandemic.”

The legislation presents the following:

  • Prohibits any federal funds from being utilized to implement the COVID vaccine requirement;
  • Prohibits the Secretary of Defense from taking any adverse action against Guard members for refusing the vaccine, including retaliation, punishment or disparate treatment;
  • Does not impinge on the authority or rights of state governors in their role as commanders of their National Guards but protects service members from unilateral federal mandates; and
  • Does not limit the ability of a commander to consult with a superior in the chain of command, an inspector general, or a judge advocate general on the disposition of a complaint regarding a member of the National Guard for a matter unrelated to COVID vaccine refusal.