Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) is proposing new bipartisan legislation recommending that Guantanamo Bay inmates be last in line for coveted COVID-19 vaccine doses.
The Pentagon on Saturday hastily paused plans to vaccinate the 40 alleged terrorists at Guantanamo after The Post reported that the military was offering the shots to jihadists including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammad before ordinary citizens.
“Every American should have access to vaccines before these heinous terrorists,” Stefanik said on Monday in a statement announcing her bill.
The resolution is not binding, but would express the House’s opposition to “any plans by the Department of Defense to deliver COVID–19 vaccines to prisoners held at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay… until all Americans have had the opportunity to be vaccinated.”
Most cosponsors are Republicans. New York Reps. Lee Zeldin of Long Island and Nicole Malliotakis, who represents Staten Island and part of Brooklyn, are co-sponsors.
Democratic Rep. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin joined three dozen House Republicans, including Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), as an original co-sponsor.
Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa), who helped coordinate the resolution with Stefanik, said in a release that “[i]t is appalling that under the Biden Administration, terrorists held in GITMO were going to cut the line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine ahead of American citizens. Meanwhile, thousands of Iowans, including frontline workers, first responders, teachers, and seniors are still waiting to receive the vaccine.”
Stefanik said, “It is inexcusable and un-American that President Biden is prioritizing vaccines for terrorist detainees over American citizens, including veterans, first responders, 9/11 first responders, and seniors.”
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Saturday the planned vaccination drive was being reconsidered.
“No Guantanamo detainees have been vaccinated. We’re pausing the plan to move forward, as we review force protection protocols. We remain committed to our obligations to keep our troops safe,” Kirby said.