House Passes Defense Bill Loaded With Right-Wing Provisions Blocking Abortion & Transgender Care
The House passed a defense funding bill that included Republican provisions on abortion coverage, diversity initiatives and transgender care at the Pentagon. Attempts to cut back on U.S. funding for Ukraine were rejected.
The bill authorizes $874.2 billion in the coming year for defense spending. It will also provide an estimated 5.2% pay raise for service members.
The defense bill was favored by both Democrats and Republicans when it was introduced weeks ago. After being loaded with GOP pet projects, the final vote on the bill was 219-210, with four Democrats siding with Republicans and four conservatives opposed.
For months, extremist Republicans have been protesting a Pentagon abortion policy that grants service members paid time off to travel to receive abortion care. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama) has championed the issue by singlehandedly halting the confirmation of hundreds of military nominees.
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Conservatives have also been critical of President Joe Biden for his increased financial support of Ukraine. Many feel that the president is treating the country as the “51st state of America” and do not agree with his decision to send cluster munitions meant to help battle Russia. Though most of these efforts failed, Republicans were able to attach provisions to block abortion and transgender care in the military.
Republican initiatives to politicize the must-pass defense bill exemplify how the military has been caught in a “culture war” between parties. Conservatives are infusing their anti-abortion and anti-trans beliefs into government spending legislation that has always been bipartisan.
“Extreme M.A.G.A. Republicans have chosen to hijack the historically bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act to continue attacking reproductive freedom and jamming their right-wing ideology down the throats of the American people,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-New York), Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Massachusetts) and Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-California) in a joint statement.
As the bill moves from the Republican-led House into the Democratic Senate, most GOP provisions will most likely be excluded in the final bill. However, Democrats will need to cooperate with Senate Republicans to ensure support for final passage.
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