Cong. Tony Gonzales Introduces Bill to Fight Vaccine Mandates on Customs & Border Agents Fighting to Secure Border


The BASE Act restricts federal funds from being used to enforce vaccine mandates on CBP
 
Texas Insider Report: WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Tony Gonzales (TX-23) was joined by House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik and House Homeland Security Ranking Member John Katko on Friday as he introduced legislation to restrict federal funds from being used to enforce a vaccine mandate on U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) Agents and Officers.
 
As of early December, 1,000s of Border Patrol Agents and Customs Officers have chosen to forego the COVID-19 vaccine for medical or religious purposes, and 100s have not yet filed for an exemption and are especially vulnerable to adverse action from the agency.

If they do not get vaccinated, they could be subject to layoffs as early as January. 

The average hiring process for border patrol agents takes more than 400 days, followed by over 20 weeks of training at the Border Patrol Academy. With morale and recruitment rates already at an all-time low, the agency would be unable to fill vacancies expeditiously.

In October, Congressman Gonzales led a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in opposition to the vaccine mandate for border enforcement personnel.
 
“Our men and women at Customs & Border Protection have faced an unprecedented crisis at our southern border over the last year,” said Congressman Gonzales.

“They have stayed resilient and strong in the face of extraordinary amounts of stress, working above and beyond their call of duty. With morale at an all-time low, this mandate would be the last straw for many agents and officers who, if not outright fired by the agency, would quit or retire early.

"Considering the recruitment issues and average hiring time for the CBP workforce, enforcing this vaccine mandate on border enforcement personnel would create a national security issue,” Conzales said/

 
The bill, titled Border Agents Staying Employed (BASE) Act, finds that allowing for alternatives to the vaccine, such as regular testing and the use of personal protective equipment, would allow CBP to retain a larger share of its critical workforce while keeping its personnel safe. 
 
“I want to thank Congressman Gonzales for introducing this legislation and continuing to be such a strong advocate for Border Patrol Agents,” 
said Brandon Judd, President of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC).

“Healthcare decisions are deeply personal and best left to individuals and their doctors - not the federal government.  There are options, such as regular testing and mandating the use of personal protective equipment, that get us to same place without the vaccine mandate.” 
 
“I have heard from several of my constituents who work to protect our Northern Border, but who have been displaced from their homes and sent on no-notice deployments to work long hours to fight Joe Biden’s crisis on the Southern Border," 
said Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (NY-21, standing to the right of Cong. Gonzales in picture atop article.)

"Instead of rewarding them for their service, this Administration is threatening to terminate our Border Patrol agents who wish to make their own medical decisions. I am proud to join this effort to ensure federal funds are not used to enforce authoritarian vaccine mandates on our Border Patrol agents.”
 
“For the last 12 months, our nation’s Border Patrol Agents have been left responding to a record-breaking crisis at our southern border created by President Biden’s open border policies,” said Ranking Member John Katko (NY-24).

“These same agents are now being forced to continue managing the chaos while under threat of losing their jobs. While I am a firm believer in the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine, President Biden’s vaccine mandate threatens an already suffering workforce.

Border Patrol Agents are already overwhelmed at current staffing levels and simply cannot afford to lose any personnel due to the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate. I am proud to join Representative Gonzales in this critical effort and thank him for his strong leadership in supporting our frontline forces.”
 
Gonzales, Stefanik and Katko (above right,) were also joined by co-sponsors:
 
  1. Brian Babin (TX-36)
  2. Stephanie Bice (OK-5)
  3. Michael Burgess (TX-26)
  4. Michael Cloud (TX-27)
  5. Randy Feenstra (IA-4)
  6. Andrew Garbarino (NY-2)
  7. Bob Gibbs (OH-7)
  8. Carlos Gimenez (FL-26)
  9. Brett Guthrie (KY-2)
  10. Ashley Hinson (IA-1)
  11. Ronny Jackson (TX-13)
  12. Chris Jacobs (NY-27)
  13. Brian Mast (FL-18)
  14. David McKinley (WV-1)
  15. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-2)
  16. Barry Moore (AL-2) and
  17. Ralph Norman (SC-5)
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