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Senate passes defense bill rescinding COVID vaccine mandate

Marsha Blackburn
Posted at 8:39 PM, Dec 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-15 21:54:01-05

WASHINGTON (AP) — A bill to rescind the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for members of the U.S. military and provide nearly $858 billion for national defense has passed the Senate and now goes to President Joe Biden to be signed into law.

The bill approved Thursday night authorizes about $45 billion more for defense programs than Biden requested and roughly 10% more than last year's bill. Lawmakers are trying to account for inflation and boost the nation's military competitiveness with China and Russia.

It includes a 4.6% pay raise for servicemembers and the Defense Department's civilian workforce.

Ohio Senator Rob Portman released this statement about the passing of the bill:

This amendment is far from perfect but would make several important improvements to our federal permitting processes for energy projects and expand the role of the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council, which I created with my colleague, former Senator Claire McCaskill, in 2015.

Ohio is an energy producing state – from coal to oil and natural gas to renewable energy – and having an efficient permitting process for the continued development of Ohio’s natural resources is important for our economy and national security. This amendment also requires federal agencies to issue all approvals and permits necessary for the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, and estimates show that a quarter of the natural gas flowing through this pipeline would come from Ohio once completed.

At a time of high inflation and record energy costs, we should be doing all we can to help secure our energy supplies and lower costs for hardworking families in Ohio and across the nation.
Sen. Rob Portman

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