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Gov. Greg Abbott announced in a letter Tuesday that he intends to sue the federal government over its military personnel vaccine mandate, which includes the Texas National Guard.

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott announced in a letter Tuesday that he intends to sue the federal government over its military personnel vaccine mandate, which includes the Texas National Guard.

“As the commander-in-chief of Texas’s militia, I have issued a straightforward order to every member of the Texas National Guard within my chain of command: Do not punish any guardsman for choosing not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine,” he said.

Abbott claims the Biden Administration and the U.S. Department of Defense has put Texas guardsmen in a difficult position as the Pentagon’s mandate requires all military personnel to be vaccinated by the end of June.

In refusing to receive a vaccine, a member may be barred from participating in drills, training and other duties, which Abbott claims poses “a career-ending threat to Texas’s unvaccinated guardsmen” as their retirement benefits and other federal dollars may be withheld.

“Let me be crystal clear: It is the federal government that has put Texas’s guardsmen in this difficult position,” Abbott said in the letter.

Similar lawsuits have been pursued in at least six GOP-led states, including Wyoming, Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

In Oklahoma, a federal judge recently sided with the Biden Administration allowing for the mandate on Oklahoma National Guard members to remain in place. In that case, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt argued he is commander in chief of the state's National Guard when it is not called up under federal orders and therefore the Biden Administration is overstepping its authority. Since the guardsmen are under the governor’s jurisdiction, they should only need to follow his orders which do not require a vaccine. Abbott too plans to file a lawsuit with the same arguments.

"Unless President Biden federalizes the Texas National Guard in accordance with Title 10 of the U.S. Code, he is not your commander-in-chief under our federal or state Constitutions. And as long as I am your commander-in-chief, I will not tolerate efforts to compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine,” Abbott said.

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