Matt Gaetz Introduces Bill to Reinstate or Compensate Federal Employees Ousted Over Vaccine Mandate

On Friday, Representative Matt Gaetz-, R-Fl. introduced legislation that would reinstate federal employees who were forced out of their jobs due to a Covid-19 vaccine mandate.

The bill could also provide financial compensation for people who lost pay and benefits after being terminated by the federal government.

“If passed, Rep. Gaetz’s legislation will provide financial compensation or full reinstatement for federal employees forced to resign from their careers between September 9th, 2021 – January 24th, 2022, due to the federal COVID–19 vaccination mandate.” Gaetz’s office said.

The Florida Congressman said that employees should have never been forced to choose between ‘destroying their livelihood’ or ‘complying with immoral demands from the federal government.’

“Forcing public servants to choose between destroying their livelihood or complying with immoral demands from the federal government is sickening. The Biden administration should have never forced federal employees to resign due to the vaccine mandate. Reinstating and compensating these individuals is the first step toward reconciliation. Vaccine mandates have no place in a free country,” said Gaetz.

The vaccine mandate was already in jeopardy after the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal contractors.

The 5th Circuit found that Biden’s mandate would represent an “enormous,” “transformative,” and “truly unprecedented” expansion of the powers of the president without clear authorization from Congress.

Federal vaccine mandates have been struck down or faced significant roadblocks, with the 5th Circuit also calling OSHA’s vaccine mandate staggeringly overbroad” and saying that it “grossly exceeds OSHA’s statutory authority.”

Gaetz’ legislation comes just a day after the Navy lifted its own vaccine mandate.  3,400 soldiers were involuntarily separated due to refusing to comply with the mandate.

In June of 2022, Gaetz advocated for members of the military who were involuntarily separated to be reinstated with back pay and their previous rank, saying that “Our military is not stronger today as a consequence of these vaccine mandate separations. It’s weaker.”

The military has not offered to reinstate soldiers who were separated, but the vaccine mandate was reversed as part of a deal with Republicans to pass the  2023 National Defense Authorization Act.

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In a report, Politico said that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was considering providing back pay for soldiers who were discharged. “Austin’s memo opened the door to reinstating troops who believe they were wrongfully let go, stipulating that service members and veterans may apply to correct their records. While the military has not yet decided to provide back pay to service members for the time they were discharged, a spokesperson said the department is looking into it.

asdas Just yesterday, Gaetz’ Florida colleague in the Senate, Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fl. introduced a bill that would also curtail the government’s ability to mandate vaccines.

Rubio’s bill focused on religious freedom as it concerns vaccine mandates, with the text saying that it would “Prohibit the imposition of certain substantial burdens, relating to COVID-19 vaccine mandates, on religious exercise, and for other purposes.”

The full text of Representative Gaetz’ bill can be found below:

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