National Security

House Republicans Target Left-Wing Pentagon Policies In Massive Spending Bill

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Jake Smith Contributor
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Several provisions targeting left-wing Department of Defense (DOD) policies made it into the House’s version of the annual defense bill that passed the chamber Friday, but a number of proposed amendments were left out.

The Republican-led House narrowly passed the $895 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Thursday. The legislation included amendments to curtail left-leaning policies in the military, including rollbacks of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policies in recruiting and promotions, bans on green-energy initiatives in defense operations, and merit-based requirements for services academies’ admissions. The House’s NDAA is likely to face pushback in the Democrat-led Senate and could be stripped of a series of conservative-favored amendments before it is signed into law, according to Politico.

“This year’s NDAA will refocus our military on its core mission of defending America and its interests across the globe,” House Speaker Mike Johnson said in a statement on Friday.

The House’s NDAA requires that any military promotion and command decisions be made based on individual merit and prohibits the Department of Defense from factoring in race or gender. It also prohibits affirmative action in admission decisions at the Naval Academy, West Point and the Air Force Academy.

An amendment included in the House’s NDAA also prohibits the DOD from reimbursing for travel costs servicemembers if they travel out of state for abortion. The DOD cannot fund or reimburse troops if they decide to undergo gender transition surgeries or treatments.

The House’s NDAA dramatically cuts back on green energy and climate-friendly policies in the military, including bans on greenhouse gas regulations and initiatives aimed at lowering climate impacts. The bill obligates DOD to provide a report to Congress outlining how green initiatives are increasing costs and potentially undermining defense operations.

The defense bill also takes aim at the ongoing illegal immigration crisis in the U.S., providing authorization to deploy the National Guard to the southern border and funds for a new task force to detect and track down illegal migrants. It mandates the DOD to improve counternarcotics strategies and brief Congress on the national security threat posed by Mexican cartels.

Moreover, the defense bill includes a nearly 20% pay raise for junior troops.

Some proposed amendments were left out of the House’s NDAA, however. An amendment submitted by Republican South Carolina Rep. Ralph Norman to remove all DEI offices from the DOD was rejected in a split 212-212 vote on Thursday. Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz’s proposed amendment to prevent the transfer of cluster munitions to other nations garnered little bipartisan approval and failed in a 134-286 vote on Thursday.

A proposal by Republican Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to prohibit funding for electric vehicles in the military failed in a 173-241 vote on Wednesday, with dozens of Republicans voting with Democrats to shoot the idea down.

A separate amendment proposed by Greene, preventing any of the funds appropriated in the bill from being used as assistance to Ukraine, failed on Thursday in a wide 74-343 vote.

“It’s all a shell game! They lie, cheat, and steal YOUR money and send it straight to Ukraine,” Greene said in a statement on Friday.

Similar to last year, the Democrat-led Senate is expected to reject several of the provisions included in the House’s draft of the bill, and both chambers will likely negotiate to find some compromise, according to Politico. The Biden administration — capable of vetoing the bill — criticized the House’s draft for its conservative policies.

“This is an unserious effort [that] will never get to the president’s desk,” a White House spokesperson told Politico. “We stand ready to work with Congress on an NDAA that meets the needs of our troops and our national security.”

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