House passes controversial military spending bill setting up fight with Senate

Published: Jul. 14, 2023 at 10:55 AM PDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act Friday in a 219-210 vote. The legislation dictates how the military spends its money, but the controversial contents of the package leave the bill with an uncertain future in the Senate.

“We keep our promises to America and to our men and women who serve us,” said Speaker Kevin McCarthy (D-Calif.).

A typically widely supported bill to direct Pentagon spending was injected with GOP priorities, with the inclusion of amendments seeking to cut funding for travel for abortions, diversity offices, trans-affirming care, and more.

“Stop using taxpayer money to do their own ‘wokeism’. A military cannot defend themselves if you train them in ‘woke’,” said McCarthy.

The conservative House Freedom Caucus, responsible for some of the controversial amendments, recognizes the Senate will pass its own version and the two chambers will have to hash out differences. Rep. Scott Perry (R-Penn.) says his caucus will fight for their amendments to be in the final bill.

“We’re not going to back down, we’re not going to give up on the cause that is righteous,” said Perry.

What one lawmaker considers to be a righteous cause is a non-starter for most Democrats.

“Extreme MAGA Republicans have hijacked a bipartisan bill,” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) told reporters Friday.

Jeffries says the Republican-passed bill threatens national security. He argues the exclusionary policies inserted into the bill could deter prospective troops from joining our volunteer forces.

“Every corner of society should feel welcome in the military,” said Jeffries.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) says they will vote on their version of the bill early next week. It passed out of committee with widespread bipartisan support.