On Friday, July 14 2021, the House of Representatives passed a sweeping annual defense bill known as the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2023. The passage of this bill was marked by narrow bipartisanship, with 219 votes in favor and 210 against.
The bill’s passage is seen as a major win for conservatives who managed to insert several provisions into the measure that restrict abortion coverage and transgender procedures while eliminating various diversity initiatives at the Pentagon.
Among these measures are repealing the Department of Defense (DOD)’s abortion travel policy and prohibiting DOD health care programs from providing sex reassignment surgeries or gender hormone treatments for transgender individuals.
Other measures include barring DOD schools from teaching that America or its founding are racist as well as from buying books containing pornographic material or espousing “radical gender ideology”.
Four Republicans voted against the measure, which now sets up a showdown in the Democrat-led Senate amid predictions of an uphill battle ahead.
Scott Perry (R-PA.), Freedom Caucus chairman, described it during a press conference after its passing as a “major win” for “the American people and for life.”
Democrats widely denounced it, however, accusing Republicans of hijacking what should be an investment in service members into an “extreme and reckless legislative joyride.”
In response to this situation Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), lead Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, avoided commenting on any controversial items instead choosing to focus on how this spending measure bolsters deterrence and secures supply chains among other features such as allowing the purchase of aircrafts and destroyers while adjusting inventory requirements for Air Force.
He also noted that four Democrats did vote in favor; Reps Jared Golden (D-Maine), Gabe Vasquez (D-N.M.), Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez (D-Wash.) & Don Davis (D-N.C.).
This $886 billion defense package includes regular provisions such as those mentioned above but is accompanied by a 5% pay raise for service members meant to counteract Biden’s inflation rates according to Rogers statement who also highlighted how it incorporates measures aimed at addressing China’s challenges posed toward national defense planning – demonstrating strength in face of said threats.
Meanwhile, Democrat leaders Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) & Caucus Chairman Pete Aguilar released joint leadership statements condemning what they viewed as “attacks on reproductive freedom & right-wing ideology being forced down throats of American people.”