Friday, 28 July 2023

Senate Passes Defense Bill With No Block On Funding For Abortion Travel, Setting Up Battle With House

 The Senate passed its own version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Thursday without adding an amendment to pull Pentagon funding for abortion travel, setting up a likely fight with the House. 

The Senate’s NDAA was widely backed by both Republicans and Democrats, passing in an 86-11 vote. 

“What’s happening in the Senate is a stark contrast to a bipartisan race to the bottom we saw in the House where House Republicans are pushing partisan legislation that has zero chance of passing,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said. “House Republicans should look to the Senate to see how things get done.”

The group of Republicans who voted against the bill included Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH), and Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN). 

“I’ve worked in good faith throughout this process to secure as many wins for Ohio as possible, and I’m proud that many of those priorities have been included in the final version of the NDAA,” Vance said in a statement on his opposition to the bill. “However, I cannot in good conscience support the broader package, which commits the United States to years of additional military aid for the war in Ukraine. It’s disappointing to me that these significant priorities that would benefit Ohioans have been bogged down with such deeply problematic foreign policy proposals.”

An amendment from Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) to reinstate soldiers who left or were discharged over the COVID vaccine failed, while an amendment to prohibit the purchase of American farmland by China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea passed. The Senate also added a measure to ban sales of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to China, North Korea, Iran, and Russia.

Paul introduced an amendment that would clarify that Congress has final authority on war declarations, but it was defeated 86-13. Paul said he wanted to make sure that “Article 5 of the NATO treaty does not supersede the Constitution.”


Democrats and the media have claimed House Republicans politicized the bill by stripping the Pentagon’s authority to allocate money for women in the military to travel for abortions if they are in a state with pro-life protections.  

The House version, which passed 219-210 along mostly partisan lines, also prohibited military funding going toward sex change operations on military members. Military members are given a 5.2% raise in both versions of the NDAA. 

“Under this bill our men and women in uniform, who make sacrifices for our nation every day, will receive the biggest pay raise in decades, radical programs that are forced on our troops at the expense of readiness are eliminated, cutting-edge technology that is essential for the future of this country and will help deter Communist China will receive more investment, and taxpayers will save $40 billion as this bill roots out wasteful spending,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said after the House passed its version.

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