Republican Sens. Roger Marshall and Mike Braun are teaming up on legislation to reinstate pilots who were let go for refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
Under the bill announced Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration will be required to compel airline companies to rehire those pilots within 30 days of enactment.
“The Biden administration’s ‘jab or job’ vaccine mandates will go down as a dark time in American history,” Marshall, of Kansas, said in a statement.
“Our legislation seeks to right the wrongs of this administration who forced hard-working American people out of not only their jobs, but their careers.”
During the thick of the pandemic in 2021, President Biden took executive action requiring federal contractors to receive the jab.
Multiple top airline companies took action to terminate non-compliant pilots in response. United Airlines, for example, reported firing six employees.
By May 2023, the Biden administration formally scrapped the policy. It’s not fully clear how many pilots fired over the vaccine remain out of work as a result.
“No one should have lost their job because they didn’t want to take the COVID vaccine,” Braun, of Indiana, said in a statement.
“President Biden’s vaccine mandates were completely out of line and violated the liberties of key workers who are essential in daily operations of our skies.”
Marshall has previously taken other steps to undercut vaccine mandates. For instance, he added an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act restricting the Department of Defense from compelling servicemembers to take the vaccine.
He also proposed legislation to stop the vaccine mandate for health care workers and backed the Travel Freedom Act to repeal a mandate forcing internal travelers to show proof of vaccination.
“We will continue to fight for every American wronged by the Biden administration’s unconstitutional vaccine mandate that has impacted not only our pilots’ livelihoods but our servicemen and women, our children, small businesses and beyond,” Marshall added.
Marshall and Braun are not alone in seeking to reinstate the pilots, particularly as the industry grapples with a staffing shortage.
Over the summer, an amendment to the FAA reauthorization bill introduced by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) to reinstate pilots fired over the vaccine failed in the House of Representatives.