Tony Perkins / December 8, 2021

Republicans in Top Form on Draft Day

The language over forcing women in the military draft has been completely eliminated.

In a Congress run by Democrats, it’s not every day that conservatives can celebrate a common-sense victory. So when word leaked that there’d been a dramatic change to the military spending bill, most Republicans were waiting for the other shoe to drop. By late Tuesday morning, the rumors about the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) turned out to be true: As part of a new compromise between negotiators, the language over forcing women in the military draft has been completely eliminated — a stunning turnaround that wouldn’t have been possible without a handful of leaders in the House and Senate, and more than 200,000 messages from people like you.

At first, members of Congress like Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), who took one of the most outspoken positions against the idea (including a public ultimatum to hold his party responsible), were cautiously optimistic. It’s one thing to say the two sides had stripped the draft language from the bill — and quite another to see the text in black and white. His staff, when asked, said they were pleased to hear (through the grapevine) that House and Senate leaders finally “did the right thing and removed the absurd requirement for women to register for the draft,” but made it clear that they looked forward to reviewing the actual language. “Given the nature of this town,” Roy’s team said, “[we] hope that these reports will actually come to fruition.”

Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who sponsored an amendment on the issue like Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), took a similar tone. “It appears the NDAA will no longer require women to register for the military draft. I certainly hope that is the case. If it is not, then I will keep fighting for a vote on the Senate floor to strip this wrong and misguided provision out of the final bill.” It’s wrong, the senator insisted last week, “to force our daughters, mothers, wives, and sisters to fight our wars. Our country is extremely grateful for the brave women who have volunteered to serve our country with and alongside our fighting forces,” he said, echoing the thanks of FRC and others. “They have played a vital role in defending America at every point in our nation’s history. But volunteering for military service is not the same as being forced into it, and no women should be compelled to do so.”

By noon yesterday, FRC staff started combing through the compromise version of the NDAA themselves — looking for a number of issues that they’d flagged as major problems for offices, things like expanded “diversity training,” free contraceptives (including Plan B), loopholes for taxpayer-funded abortion, increased focus on “hate group” extremism, a mandate for “gender advisors,” and a long list of avenues for the Left to impose their transgender and LGBT extremism on our men and women in uniform. Thanks to the members of Congress who conferenced on the bill and hashed out the details — Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), with help from Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) — Democrats have been talked out almost every attempt to use the military for social experimentation. Considering the state of play heading into this week, that’s a monumental achievement.

A number of news outlets, including Politico, seemed surprised that GOP negotiators could exact this kind of concession. Usually, they explain, sections of the bill that have approval in both chambers “are almost guaranteed to become law in the final bill lawmakers iron out. The military draft expansion is one of the rare exceptions.”

Obviously, none of this would have happened without a core group of Republicans who were determined to the hold the line behind the scenes. And part of that determination came from you — the tens of thousands of our supporters who gave them the encouragement to fight. As Hartzler argued, this was never about improving military readiness. “Instead, it passed through committee under the misplaced guise of ‘equality,’ imposing a woke ideology on our troops rather than meeting the current needs of our military… Women are not chess pieces in a political game. They are doctors, lawyers, engineers, and already valuable members of our all-volunteer force. I applaud the removal of this unnecessary provision and am grateful to see reasonable minds come together to join me in resisting this effort.”

Unfortunately, one way Democrats thought the GOP can repay them for their goodwill was by agreeing to hitch the debt limit debate to the NDAA. In their minds, if they could put a controversial issue like raising America’s borrowing limit on a piece of must-pass legislation, they could kill two birds and still make it home in time for Christmas.

Not so fast, Republicans said. The last thing they want to do is look supportive of digging the hole deeper on America’s debt. For months, conservatives have argued that if Democrats want to keep spending and make a mess of the country’s credit, then they need to be the ones to extend another line of credit. Tying the two bills together would give the impression that Republicans who vote for the NDAA also support the reckless spending the president’s party is doing — and they don’t. It’s a “terrible idea,” Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) told reporters. “We’ve been pretty clear that we’re not actually going to be a part of actually helping them [add] trillions of additional debt that we had no part of. That’s been a pretty clear statement from the beginning on this, and it should continue to be that.”

The latest word is that Democrats are rethinking that strategy. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), might try to pass a one-time rule change that would let the Senate increase the debt limit by a simple majority — 51 votes — instead of the usual 60. Initially that seemed like a tough sell to Republicans, but one by one they seem to be on board with this strategy to let the Left “raise the debt limit on their own.”

In the meantime, FRC couldn’t be more proud of the Republicans who went to the mat to fight off the horrible implications for our daughters in the earlier version of the bill. It’s not easy to take a stand in the minority, so let these members know you appreciate it! Take a minute to call their offices and thank them, especially if they represent your state: Senator Inhofe, Okla. (202-224-4721); Rep. Hartzler, Mo. (202-225-2876); Rep. Roy, Texas (202-225-4236); Rep. Rogers, Ala. (202-225-3261); Senator Hawley, Mo. (202-224-6154); Senator Lee, Utah (202-224-5444).

Originally published here.

Confronting Another Evil Empire: China

Nearly 40 years ago, Ronald Reagan rightly characterized the then-Soviet Union as “the focus of evil in the modern world.” Were he alive today and surveying the international scene, he might direct that same remark to China.

It’s for this reason that the Biden administration has chosen not to send any American diplomats to China’s Winter Olympic Games. “U.S. diplomatic or official representation would treat these Games as business as usual in the face of [China’s] egregious human rights abuses and atrocities” against the Uyghur ethnic minority, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki. “We simply can’t do that,” she said.

Unfortunately, not everyone is on board. After accusing senior Chinese official Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault, the world’s top-ranked women’s doubles player Peng Shuai “disappeared” for weeks. The Women’s Tennis Association, in solidarity with Peng, has stated it will no longer hold tournaments in China. Yet the International Olympic Committee, “acting as a witting tool of the Chinese Communist Party,” said it is “encouraged by assurances” that Peng “is safe.” However, “the IOC proudly contributed to the global effort to end apartheid in South Africa by banning South African Olympic participation for decades. Today, the IOC grovels at the feet of (Chinese) authoritarians,” writes Michael Mazza of the American Enterprise Institute.

Indiana Republican Senator Todd Young, responding to the Biden administration’s decision about the Olympics, noted that “we highly disapprove, we abhor and condemn the slavery conditions in which they require Uyghur Muslims to work; we condemn the executions and forced abortions that they are involved in; we condemn the snatching of territory and occupation of disputed lands on and on and on.”

So, while I applaud President Biden’s decision, much more must be done. As FRC’s Arielle Del Turco urges, “The Biden administration and American corporations should take a lesson from the WTA. We can stand up to the CCP — and for the sake of its victims, we must.”

The Olympic controversy has further exposed China’s pattern of ruthlessness. And for America, this pattern is ominous. China’s threatening actions toward Japan and Taiwan reflect the grim reality that China does not mean well for the world. And a closer look shows that the communists in Beijing retain the same spirit of oppression that motivated the organized cruelty of Mao Zedong.

It’s hard to know where to begin when citing the brutality of the communist regime. Chinese Christians are being placed in “brainwashing camps” where, as one recently released believer says, the “repression was so brutal that ‘After you’ve been in there a week, death starts to look better than staying there.’”

That’s one of the reasons Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) is so appalled by the president’s half-hearted action. “They’re just emphasizing the [diplomatic] boycott because the administration wants to look like it’s doing something significant. But I and 180 human rights groups — 180,” he repeated, “have called for a full boycott, an economic boycott, and [one] for athletes. And I want to be clear for those who my heart goes out to the athletes [who] have been asking repeatedly for the International Olympic Committee to move the Games out of Beijing… They have refused to do so. And I just do not see how we have the American flag flying in Beijing after unleashing COVID on the world with an ongoing genocide.”

“I’ll be candid,” he said. “I would ask many of these athletes… if the U.S. government were imprisoning a million Muslims in concentration camps, I guarantee you they would be protesting and not begging to compete. But why then turn a blind eye when it comes to when it comes to China?”

China is also trying to gain influence in poor but strategic nations across the globe. China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” is a “vast collection of development and investment initiatives would stretch from East Asia to Europe, significantly expanding China’s economic and political influence.” Using low-interest loans as a hook, China is indebting more than 60 countries throughout the developing world to itself. The latest sign of this “disturbing expansion of Chinese power” is China’s plan to “build a military base in Equatorial Guinea — which would give Beijing’s forces their first permanent foothold on the Atlantic Ocean.” The idea of the Chinese navy having a presence in the Atlantic Ocean is nothing less than a danger to the national security of the United States.

Taken together, it’s clear that China is now perhaps the main “focus of evil in the modern world.” As President Reagan did with the Soviet Union, we must now face down this threat and make sure that when it comes to religious liberty, human rights, and America’s vital interests and security, we confront Beijing’s evil and, as time goes on, see an end to yet another evil empire.

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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