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U.S. Senate to Advance National Defense Bill

Image: Shutterstock/Philip Yabut

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) typically passes through Congress with ease, but this year the process has taken a different path as Republican House members tack on controversial amendments.

Senate voted to advance the bill which brings us one step closer to its passing. House Republicans passed their own version of the bill when Democrats largely opposed their additional amendments, according to CNN.

This legislation passes annually with a new set policy agenda and budget for the Department of Defense. But this year, the NDAA caused a divide in the House as Republican lawmakers are striving to pass amendments regarding abortion, DEI positions and LGBTQ+ healthcare concerns.

Responses from Both Sides

Many GOP leaders and members of the House Freedom Caucus refuse to support the bill without various amendments being added to it. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) expanded on the amendments in the House session last week.

“We have a ban on funding for drag queen shows, a ban on funding critical race theory, abolishing the DoD’s Chief Diversity Officer Position,” said Boebert.

Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) offered the DEI position measure that initially was a failure with a vote of 216-216, but then after another consideration was passed 214-213. This does away with all DEI programs and personnel within the Pentagon.

Norman took to Twitter to share his victories with supporters.

Another controversial amendment regarding abortion brought up by Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) was adopted by the house, which would ban the secretary of defense from paying for or reimbursing service members for “abortion related expenses,” according to CNBC.

Others include a measure sponsored by Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) that denies healthcare coverage regarding transgender-related medical issues for service members. This was a close vote that, to the surprise of Democratic reps, ended in its adoption.

On the contrary, Democratic House members made their opinion known.

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) shared a comment about the amendment on the House floor, says that the bill would not give people a “fair shake” in the military.

“Whether you’re talking about women, whether you’re talking about trans people, whether you’re talking about people of color, this bill says that we’re going to make it more difficult for you to get a fair shake in the military,” said Smith.

Smith took to Twitter to answer commonly asked questions regarding the bill and what Democrats are hoping for.

What to Expect

To look ahead, we can expect each chamber to alter the other’s version and go over differences later this year at their conventions. This bill has been passed with ease for the past six decades, so this newfound collision is causing us to go into uncharted territory when it comes to making a formal decision.

The usual bipartisan support that we expect to be a given has been challenged. Our priorities have “switched” in regards to what belongs in the NDAA, according to CNN. GOP leaders have been focused on blocking out the “woke agenda” while Democratic leaders are fighting away extremists.

Both chambers must agree on a version of the bill before it can eventually pass.

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I am a senior journalism major Chinese minor at Texas Christian University. I have worked in student media since beginning my time at TCU and have since found my passion to be multimedia storytelling. I enjoy conducting extensive research for stories to make them as well-rounded as possible.

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