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Tags: pentagon | spending | abortion | dei | transgender

House GOP Culture War Amendments May Slow Defense Bill

By    |   Wednesday, 12 June 2024 06:13 PM EDT

A top House Democrat said Republicans are wasting their time by adding a number of culture war amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the Pentagon's annual appropriations bill, because they will be rejected by the Democrat-controlled Senate.

An amendment by Rep. Beth Van Duyne, R-Texas, would prohibit service members being reimbursed to cover expenses related to an abortion, such as travel or leave. That Pentagon policy spurred Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., to embark on a monthslong campaign to filibuster votes on senior military promotions in the Senate.

Other amendments would prohibit funds used for gender transition procedures, including surgery or medication, through the Exceptional Family Medical Program; for implementing President Joe Biden's climate change executive orders; and for drag shows, drag queen story hours, and similar events.

Others call for a permanent hiring freeze for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) jobs in the Pentagon and eliminating any DEI offices within the armed forces and Pentagon, and the position of the Pentagon's Chief Diversity Officer, as well as prohibiting the establishment of any substantially similar position.

The House will vote this week whether to attach those amendments to the NDAA for the 2025 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. The NDAA advanced to the House floor with bipartisan support, but it's unlikely Democrats will rally behind it with amendments that run counter to their agenda.

"This Republican leadership wouldn't know bipartisanship if it hit 'em in the back of the head," said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., the ranking member on the House Rules Committee, according to The Hill. "Bottom line is, this is a bill that passed 57 to 1 out of committee, and they're going to load it up with all of these crappy poison-pill MAGA right-wing amendments, and it'll be a partisan bill. It's just wasting time, because the Senate's not going to go for what they're proposing, and neither will the White House."

The risk of losing Democrat support is leading to opposition to some amendments by moderate Republicans, and with such a wafer-thin majority, the GOP can afford to lose only a couple votes to get the measure passed.

"I may vote against some of these, even though I may agree with them personally," Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., told The Hill. "But I want to make sure we're going to pass it. We're probably going to need some Democrat support. You've got 10 or 20 of these guys who aren't going to vote for the defense bill, and they're the ones who put these poison pills up."

But other members are not as concerned about the effect the amendments will have on the legislation, which also includes a pay raise for troops.

"It's important to draw the line, and I think it's a very mild line," Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, told The Hill. "Sometimes I think we're trying to go a little too far and it's so unrealistic as to be counterproductive. But on some of this stuff, I really don't think it is … . We're just trying to put the [Pentagon] back into kind of the same cultural footing that it was in just not very long ago. We're not asking for anything crazy here."

Many of these amendments were attached to last year's NDAA but did not make it into the final version, including the DEI, abortion, and transgender surgery measures. But a few socially conservative amendments were signed into law by Biden, including measures to restrict "critical race theory" at military academies and a ban on unauthorized flags on military bases, such as the flying of LGBTQ flags.

Michael Katz

Michael Katz is a Newsmax reporter with more than 30 years of experience reporting and editing on news, culture, and politics.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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A top House Democrat said Republicans are wasting their time by adding a number of culture war amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the Pentagon's annual appropriations bill, because they will be rejected by the Democrat-controlled Senate.
pentagon, spending, abortion, dei, transgender
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2024-13-12
Wednesday, 12 June 2024 06:13 PM
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