Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

House Republicans pass key military bill with new limits on abortion and DEI initiatives

By 37ci3 Jun14,2024

WASHINGTON – The Republican-controlled House of Representatives on Friday passed a military policy bill that includes several conservative provisions. abortion and diversity, equity and inclusion The Pentagon’s initiatives have drawn fierce opposition from Democrats, who largely reject it.

The National Defense Authorization Act passed 217-199, largely along party lines, with only six Democrats voting in favor and three conservatives defecting from the GOP to oppose it.

“This year’s NDAA will focus our military on its core mission of defending America and its interests around the world, fund the deployment of the National Guard to the Southwest border, accelerate innovation and reduce the timeline for acquiring new weapons, support our allies, and strengthen our nuclear posture and missile defense programs,” he said. said Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La.

This includes a 19.5% pay rise for junior enlisted personnel and greater allowances for food and housing.

But the bill was also amended to include a provision that would “prohibit the secretary of defense from paying or reimbursing expenses related to abortion services.” politics The Biden administration was established in 2022. failed attempt pressuring the Pentagon to reverse its policy of paying for travel expenses related to abortions by blocking military promotions that drew widespread condemnation.

Although the majority of the NDAA came out of the Armed Services Committee as bipartisan, a 57-1 vote, House Republicans have inserted several conservative amendments along party lines in the last two days since the bill was introduced to the House floor, making it controversial. It includes an amendment that permanently freezes hiring for diversity, equity and inclusion (or DEI) jobs at the Department of Defense and eliminates the position of the department’s chief diversity officer. It would also prevent the TRICARE health care program from providing gender reassignment surgeries.

“Unfortunately, House Republicans are using the NDAA — historically bipartisan legislation to support our nation’s defense — to restrict military women’s travel to receive reproductive health care, including emergency care that could save their lives or their ability to have children,” she said. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., has a lot of military personnel in her district. “I would venture to guess that very few women serving in our military have been consulted on this proposal. We should not focus on restricting the freedom of our troops, but on strengthening our national security.”

Rep. Pat Ryan, D-N.Y., said: “This is a disgrace. “I think that, especially as someone who has served, to take a bill about actual war preparedness and prevention and turn it into a culture war bill is really damaging to our national security.”

The final defense policy will require a compromise between the House and Senate that can pass both chambers and be signed into law by President Joe Biden.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., said the guarantee is dead when it comes to the Democratic-led Senate, which is advancing a different NDAA without the culture war amendments.

“It’s going to be a problem for our servicemen and women in the field — they’re going there because we’re sending them there,” Duckworth said. “For example, I had a miscarriage while I was still serving and I had to have the procedure to continue my IVF journey. I wouldn’t have had access to that.”

Rep. Beth Van Duyne, R-Texas, who authored the abortion provision, defended it. “We shouldn’t have put this burden on our DOD budget,” he said. “But the president decided to do it through an executive order, so we had to take care of it in legislation.”

House Democrats’ campaign arm, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, quickly pounced on the amendment.

“If there’s a day that ends in ‘Y,’ House Republicans will vote for national restrictions on abortion,” DCCC spokeswoman Viet Shelton said. “They are more interested in attacking the reproductive freedoms of our nation’s service members than making sure our troops have the support they need, and voters will remember how wrong these attacks were when they go to the polls in November.”

The three Republicans who opposed the legislation were Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., Thomas Massie, R-Ky. and Matt Rosendale, R-Mont. The six Democrats who said yes were Reps. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, Don Davis, D-N.C., Jaren Golden, R-Maine, Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, Mary Peltola, D-Alaska, and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-Yuma. .

Both the House and Senate must pass the same version of the NDAA to become law. Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, warned that many Republicans would vote against the NDAA if the abortion provision and other conservative priorities were repealed.

“If the Senate pulls this out, it certainly jeopardizes the support of a large portion of our conference,” he said. “And so I hope we’re going to fight for those things and try to move our Department of Defense away from these social engineering problems and focus more on issues that are focused solely on our national defense.”

Rep. Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, a Navy veteran, said he was proud of the bill but said it was “just one step” in a process.

“We have to fight back and make sure that a lot of the things that we’ve worked hard for in the House stay there,” he said. “But I think we have a long way to go.”

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By 37ci3

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