Congress Haggles Over Military Priorities
The National Defense Authorization Act strikes against some leftist priorities, but not all of them.
If you don’t vote for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), you don’t support the military.
That’s the message from each political party to the other one every time military funding is up for a vote in Congress. The good old Washington game, however, is to lard up such bills with pork or other measures that no one can oppose without being labeled anti-military. Sometimes that game is played in reverse — things are left out of the bill that ought to be in it, and all for political reasons.
Take abortion, for example. After the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision last year, Democrats greatly ramped up their politicization of abortion. It has worked far too well, leading to defeats of Republicans and either the passage of abortion protections or the defeat of pro-life measures in several states. Whipping up anger among women over “reproductive rights” is an effective motivator come election time.
Part of the politicization came when Joe “The Good Catholic” Biden, the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, decided to scrap his decades-long defense of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits using federal tax dollars for abortion, in favor of violating the law by providing money for abortion services for military personnel. The number of military women availing themselves of this has been quite few, but that’s immaterial to the illegal policy itself.
Until this week, Alabama Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville had for 10 months blocked military promotions from Senate confirmation until the Biden administration reversed the policy.
Unfortunately, Tuberville stood almost entirely alone. In fact, behind his back, some Republican senators were working on a compromise NDAA that did nothing to rein in Biden’s policy. Biden threatened to veto a House version of the bill that did explicitly prohibit it. This week, a conference version of the $900 billion bill between the two chambers eliminated key provisions from the House version, though it did keep some other important ones.
The abortion controversy is primarily a political game that benefits Democrats. But it does illustrate the incoherence of their position because women are not the same as or always interchangeable with men. After certain elective activities, it’s hard for women to remain active and effective in a military role of any sort when they’re pregnant, especially later term. Democrats thus argue rather grotesquely that military readiness requires taxpayer-funded abortion.
Another dark irony: Many if not most military recruits come from military families. That’s harder when you’re literally killing the next generation of recruits.
There is a fair bit of good news, however, in terms of what Republicans may secure as part of the NDAA.
While recruiting and readiness are also suffering because of woke military mandates, the compromise NDAA does include some Republican measures to fight against such things. “I fought hard to ensure that DoD does not spend any funds on drag queen shows and children’s drag queen story hours,” said House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI). House Republicans also said the bill “prohibits funds for any DoD advisory committee dealing with race, gender identity, sexual orientation, or social justice.”
According to the New York Post, “The text specifically calls for eliminating the Pentagon’s DEI chief position and requiring Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to ‘assess and validate the need for every position in the DEI bureaucracy.’”
Furthermore, House Republicans said the bill “prohibits DoD from contracting with NewsGuard Technologies or similar advertising firms that blacklist conservative news sources.” Such government collusion with Leftmedia “fact-checkers” is disgraceful and should be stopped.
So should the leftist focus on climate change as supposedly the biggest national security threat. House Republicans added that the bill “blocks the DoD from requiring defense contractors to document the impact their weapons systems have on greenhouse gas emissions and submit plans to reduce emissions.”
Finally, the bill also works to rectify the damage done by Biden’s COVID vaccine mandate. The Army already sent out a letter to many discharged soldiers offering a mea culpa of sorts. House Republicans add to that, saying they secured protection for “current servicemembers” and “a path back to service for the 8,000 servicemembers discharged for failing to take the COVID-19 vaccine,” as well as restoration of retirement benefits for discharged troops.
The Pentagon should focus a lot less on the left-wing politics of diversity, equity, and inclusion, critical race theory, and killing unborn babies. Instead, the NDAA should provide for what the military needs — good pay for our warriors (it includes a 5.2% raise) and funding for more ammunition, more planes, more ships, more equipment, and more ability to focus on winning wars. That is, after all, the entire purpose of America’s Armed Forces.