House Republicans Aim to Use Defense Bill to Counter Biden’s “Woke” Policies
In an effort to combat what they perceive as the Biden administration’s “woke” policies, House Republicans are seeking to utilize the annual defense policy bill, known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), to implement amendments related to gender, abortion, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). This move comes after the House Armed Services Committee passed the NDAA for 2024 in June, which already contains several “anti-woke” provisions.
Multiple GOP lawmakers have filed amendments to the bill aimed at curbing these policies. One such amendment, presented by Reps. Matt Rosendale, Lauren Boebert, and Anna Paulina Luna, seeks to prohibit the military’s health care system from providing sex reassignment surgeries and gender hormone treatments for transgender individuals. Another amendment from Boebert and Rep. Ralph Norman would ban gender transition procedures in care available to military families.
In addition, Rep. Matt Gaetz has proposed two amendments. The first would prevent base reassignments related to complaints of discrimination based on sexual orientation, and the second would prohibit service members from using facilities not designated for their birth certificate gender. Boebert also introduced an amendment banning pornographic and radical gender ideology books in Defense Department schools’ libraries.
House Republicans are also targeting the Pentagon’s policy of offering service members time off to obtain an abortion and reimbursing them for related travel expenses. Rep. Ronny Jackson has put forth an amendment to ban the Department of Defense from reimbursing abortion-related costs incurred during travel. Reps. Norman and Jodey Arrington have proposed language that would prohibit federal funds from being used to finance out-of-state abortions.
Furthermore, lawmakers are seeking to dismantle the Pentagon’s efforts to promote DEI. Rep. Chip Roy’s amendment would prevent the creation of positions similar to Chief Diversity Officers or Senior Advisors for Diversity and Inclusion within the Department of Defense. Rep. Glenn Grothman aims to remove all civil service positions in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Additionally, Rep. Eric Burlison’s amendment requires the Department of Defense to submit a report detailing the resources expended on diversity, equity, and inclusion training.
The House Rules Committee, which decides which amendments will receive a vote, will grapple with this task upon returning to Washington next week. While some of these amendments may pass in the House, their fate in the Senate remains uncertain. If the House and Senate pass different versions of the NDAA, negotiators from both chambers will convene to reconcile their differences.
It is worth noting that multiple Republicans, including Rep. Mike Rogers, have expressed concerns about the Pentagon’s perceived embrace of “woke” ideology under the Biden administration. With more than 1,300 amendments filed last week alone, House Republicans are determined to make their mark on the defense policy bill and counter what they see as an encroachment on conservative values.
However, the ultimate outcome of these efforts remains to be seen. As negotiations unfold and compromises are made, the final version of the NDAA for 2024 will shape the nation’s defense policies and reflect the ongoing ideological battles within Congress.