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NDAA: House passes defense bill after adopting controversial amendments targeting abortion policy and other issues

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WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 16: View of the US Capitol Dome on May 16, 2023 in Washington, DC. Democratic and Republican leaders met with US President Joe Biden at the White House, and talks continue on raising the debt ceiling and bailing out the federal government. (Photo by True Anchorer/Getty Images)


The House on Friday voted to pass a major defense policy bill following a contentious debate and adoption of controversial amendments that touched on social issues.

Amendments pushed by conservative hardliners on abortion policy and access to health care for people with disabilities, as well as diversity and inclusion programs that have angered Democrats and led to pushback from some moderate Republicans — will now clash with the Senate.

The bill that passed the House must still be reconciled with the Democratic-controlled Senate.

While national security bills usually pass with broad bipartisan support, the bill passed on a party-line vote of 219 to 210. Four Democrats voted across the aisle along with Republicans and four GOP members voted against the bill.

The move to allow the controversial amendment vote marked a major concession by GOP leaders to conservative hardliners — and could be a preview of legislative battles to come, including more efforts to fund the government.

The struggle to pass the defense bill outside the House showed once again The power of conservative hardliners With a narrow GOP majority, and conservatives cheered the bill’s passage.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, has backed the strategy of allowing controversial amendments proposed by the right wing, telling CNN’s Manu Raju that members should “have a voice on what the bill actually looks like. It does not predetermine what the bill will contain.

In a scathing statement, three House Democratic leaders attacked Republicans for pushing the defense bill to the right.

The bill, known as the National Defense Authorization Act, sets the policy agenda and authorizes funding for the Department of Defense and is considered critical, requiring legislation to pass.

House Voting lasted until almost midnight on Thursday night Dealing with several amendments, including diversity, equity and inclusion programs and the adoption of a controversial rule that would cut Defense Department personnel, was a tough pill to swallow for Democrats and a victory for conservative hardliners.

Representative Ralph Norman, a Republican from South Carolina, offered a measure that would eliminate all Pentagon DEI programs and personnel. Dramatically the amendment initially failed 216-216, but was reconsidered and passed 214-213.

Another high-profile amendment adopted by the House on Thursday evening would prohibit the secretary of defense from paying or reimbursing expenses related to abortion services.

Many Democrats made it clear ahead of the vote that they were unlikely to support final passage if the amendment were included as part of the defense bill.

The Pentagon’s anti-abortion policy has been criticized by GOP Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s opposition to this has received serious attention recently. By preventing military appointments and confirmations From the fast track in the room.

The House also passed an amendment that would block a health care plan for service members that covers hormone treatments and gender confirmation surgeries for transgender people.

Colorado Conservative Rep. Lauren Bobert’s amendment prohibits military schools from purchasing or possessing “obscene and radical sexist books” in their libraries.

In a unanimous vote, the House rejected the banning amendment Selling or transferring cluster munitions to Ukraine. GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green of Georgia offered the amendment, which failed 147-276.

This story has been updated with additional updates.

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