Republicans Force Through Historically Conservative National Defense Authorization Act

U.S. House Republicans have forced through the most conservative National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in decades, The Washington Post reported. The House’s version of the annual defense policy and spending plan amounted to $886 billion and passed 219-210 on a thin Republican majority and the support of four Democrats.House Speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)House Speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)

This year’s NDAA included increased investment in precision missiles, warships, and technologies like artificial intelligence and hypersonics as the U.S. focuses more on toward China; a 5.2% base pay increase for military personnel; and increased support for military families via housing improvements, and broader access to child care, health care, and education benefits.

Additionally, the House version contains amendments to stop Pentagon policies on DEI and those that allow servicewomen to travel out of state for abortion. It also has prohibitions on specialized health care sought by transgender troops or their families.

“To have [House Speaker Rep. Kevin] McCarthy allow extremists to load up this bill with their wish list of extremist agenda items — so that we can’t in good faith pass this because we know it would harm the lives of servicewomen and service members’ families — is just a horrible place to be in,” Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.), a military veteran.

Next week, the Senate will vote on its version of the bill, which does not include the House version’s controversial measures. Some politicians are predicting that the current version of the bill will die in the chamber. And after the Senate votes on its version, the two chambers need to reconcile differences.

“This amendment dies in the Senate and does nothing. Except put the NDAA at risk of passing,” Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), an opponent of her party’s stance against abortion who sided with her party anyway, said in a text message.

President Biden is unlikely to sign into law an NDAA containing House culture-war riders.

“The military was never intended to be inclusive. Its strength is not its diversity. Its strength is its standards,” said Rep. Eli Crane (R-Ariz.), who proposed an amendment to ban the Defense Department from requiring diversity training. “My amendment has nothing to do with whether or not colored people or Black people or anybody can serve.”

Crane was later asked to amend his comments to “people of color.”

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