On Friday, Republicans enshrined a number of bills with conservative social policy restrictions limiting access to abortion, gender transition procedures, and military diversity training, pushing Republican leadership to alienate the Democrats who had the vote. The fate of the next national defense bill was at stake. It is very important for the bill to pass.
Democrats have pledged to vote against the bill on a vote scheduled for Friday morning, prompting Republican leaders to move the bill, which began as a bipartisan bill to please a minority of right-wingers in the party, to a broader audience. He accused it of turning it into an overly politicized salvo in the culture war.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York and Rep. Catherine M. Clarke of Massachusetts said, “Extreme MAGA Republicans continue to attack reproductive liberty and shove right-wing ideologies down the throat of the American people.” It chose to hijack the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act.” Pete Aguilar of California said in a statement late Thursday that he had promised to vote against the bill.
Republican leaders will endorse the bill anyway, with enough hard-line changes demanded by the far right to placate resistance within the party and compensate for nearly universal opposition in the Democratic Party. He expressed cautious optimism that the party could unite and pass the bill.
Oklahoma Republican Rep. Tom Cole predicted earlier this week that the bill could be scrapped if Republicans lose the Democratic vote, saying, “We need enough votes to get a majority. I think I have,” he said. “It’s a close fight, but I think we’ll win.”
At issue is 8860, which includes a 5.2% pay raise for military personnel, programs to counter aggressive moves by China and Russia, and the creation of a special inspector general to oversee U.S. aid to Ukraine. Billion dollar bill.
The Republican-led House, after being pushed by right-wing lawmakers, has ruled out a Pentagon plan that the Supreme Court will revoke abortion rights and provide vacation and transportation benefits to military personnel who must travel out of state to receive abortions. Added a clause to cancel the policy. .
Republicans also added measures banning the military from providing health insurance for gender transition surgery (which now requires waivers) and related hormone therapy. It contained language to eliminate all Department of Defense Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion offices and their associated positions.
They adopted a ban on the Pentagon’s Education Division from purchasing books that contain pornographic content or that “support radical gender ideologies.” And with the help of nine Democrats, he approved an amendment that would ban Pentagon schools from teaching the United States and its founding documents to be racist.
The bill is unlikely to pass the Democratic-led Senate, which will begin considering its own bill next week. Even if Republicans were able to pass the bill through the House, the deep division between the two houses is expected to spark a long-running battle, jeopardizing Congress’ ability to maintain its 60-year track record of passing a defense policy bill each year. may be threatened.
Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, the top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, lamented the Republican approach to the bill, saying it undermined the bill that came out of the panel with a near-unanimous vote. In a statement Thursday night signed by all Democrats on the committee’s subcommittee, Smith said he “cannot and will not” vote for a bill that has “been an anthem to bigotry and ignorance.” said.
The change marks a victory for far-right Republicans, who have been pressuring Speaker Kevin McCarthy to shy away from working with Democrats on major bills and instead comply with the party’s base. They spent weeks trying to force reluctant Republican leaders to incorporate socially conservative amendments into the defense bill debate, ultimately blocking progress on the bill until they had their way. threatened to force the issue.
The success of these measures on the House floor will create momentum these lawmakers will use in future debates over the budget, as far-right forces call for similar changes across government.
“It is core and fundamental to our national defense to stop the Pentagon from uniformed social engineering experiments,” Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy, one of the ultraconservative ringleaders, said on the floor Thursday. Stated.
Nearly all Republican lawmakers voted in favor of a bill that would limit funding for military personnel to be allowed to travel for abortions, passed the House 221-213, and transgender soldiers against gender reassignment surgery and hormone therapy. A bill denying insurance coverage for the elderly also passed 222 to 211. The bill, by South Carolina Republican Rep. Ralph Norman, which would eliminate the Pentagon’s diversity office and employees altogether, passed by a narrow margin of 214-213.
The House has rejected a broad bill by Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gates that would ban the Pentagon from spending any money on diversity training. The bill was rejected by a vote of 210 to 221.
The vote came in a heated floor debate between Republicans and Democrats on issues of race, sex and gender. Arizona Republican Rep. Eli Crane at one point referred to “people of color” while defending an amendment that would prevent diversity training from being a requirement for getting or holding a Pentagon job. bottom. Rep. Joyce Beatty, a black Democrat from Ohio, demanded that his own remarks be removed from his record, but Mr. Crane later said in a statement that he had “wrong his remarks.”
Later in the evening, Hawaii Democratic Rep. Jill Tokuda advised her Republican colleagues about the debate’s agenda.
“Given the racist and negative statements made in this chamber, it seems better to train the DEI here in the chamber,” she said.
One of Thursday’s bipartisan points of consensus appeared to be widespread opposition to Republican efforts to reduce or eliminate military aid and arms shipments to Ukraine.
The House of Representatives voted 276 to 147 in favor of two lawmakers in attendance, rejecting a proposal to ban the Biden administration from sending cluster munitions to Ukraine. The Biden administration announced last week that it would send the weapons to Kiev, despite bipartisan concerns that the weapons pose too great a danger to civilians.
The amendment was proposed by Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who said the 300,000 bill for training and equipping Ukrainian soldiers that has been part of the National Defense Bill for nearly a decade Her efforts to strip the billion-dollar program were also unsuccessful. The House rejected the bill by a vote of 341-89, along with a similar proposal by Mr. Gates, barring Congress from diverting more funds to the Ukrainian war effort, but the proposal was voted 358-70. Rejected.