This is the news many of our troops and their families have been waiting for- an end to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate targeting our US military personnel.

Here's the BLUF, the bottom line up front: Congressional Republicans have secured an agreement forcing the Biden Administration to do away with the COVID-19 vaccine mandate targeting our troops, and they've secured a pay raise for the troops as well.

Montana Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) joined us last minute on the radio Wednesday morning to cover the breaking news.

Sen. Daines: It's my honor to announce to our service members that the brave men and women serving our nation will not be forced to comply with Biden's overreaching vaccine mandate. The text for the National Defense Authorization Act was released last night (Tuesday). We've been fighting for this in public and behind the scenes. And the good news is- that's included in this bill. And that's great news, this overreaching mandate on the COVID vaccines, we're going to protect our men and women in uniform who for whatever reason they choose, they can still serve in the military, and will not be forced to take the vaccine.

Earlier this week we shared the news that House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was declaring victory on this front, but now the official language is out. The agreement also includes a pay raise for our troops.

Aaron Flint: I'm hopeful that this will lead to a cascading effect, where we finally tear down these walls, and we say no more discrimination against health care workers. And not only no more military service members being kicked to the curb, but restitution and back pay for those who are already discriminated against.


Sen. Daines: Yeah, and just to be clear, that fight's not over yet. I'm battling that literally today, because I want to see backpay included as well. So we make those men and women who were discharged whole on their pay. But at least now they can get back in to fighting status, and it will not be an ongoing barrier here for those who are in the military, who are wondering, who maybe were afraid- they had to choose between staying in and wearing the uniform or getting the vaccine. That was an awful choice. It's the wrong choice. That part got fixed. But now we got to fight for the back pay for those who did lose their service to the country because they were discharged.

Why did Democrats finally cave? Full audio of our chat with Senator Daines included here:


LOOK: 100 years of American military history


More From Montana Talks