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House-passed defense bill with abortion, LGBTQ amendments sets up tough Senate negotiations

The bill, which passed with only four votes from Democrats in the House, moves to the Democratic-led Senate, which is expected to pass its own version

Published: July 14, 2023 11:27pm

Updated: July 15, 2023 12:01am

The passage of the GOP House-passed $886 billion Pentagon budget bill that includes abortion and LGBTQ+ community-related amendments sets up tough negotiations with the Democrat-controlled Senate, which is expected to pass its own version, then negotiate a compromise bill with the lower chamber.

The House passed its version Friday, and the Senate is expected to pass its own version with amendments when it returns next week to Capitol Hill. 

The House bill passed with only four votes from Democrats. In the past, Defense Department budget bills usually receive a substantial amount of votes from both parties. 

Amendments to the legislation adopted in the House would block the secretary of Defense from authorizing the department to cover expenses related to abortion services or transgender surgeries for service members.

"House Republicans turned the historically bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act into a hate-filled vessel for right-wing MAGA extremism," House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said Friday. "The hyper-partisan GOP bill undermines our military readiness and hurts America’s national security. They have no shame."

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy the passage of the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act puts an "end to woke-ism" in the U.S. military.

"We don’t want Disneyland to train our military," he tweeted after the vote. "House Republicans just passed a bill that ENDS the wokism in the military and gives our troops their biggest pay raise in decades."

The bill passed 219-210. 

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise said the Pentagon budget that passed was a "massive rebuke" of "indoctrination attempts" that are taking place in the agency.

"Our military should be focused on protecting America – not pushing the Left's woke ideology," the Louisiana lawmaker said. "House Republicans just passed a National Defense Authorization Act that pays our troops and refocuses the Department of Defense on its core mission: Defense.

The bill provides the Pentagon will about $26 billion more than Congress spent on the agency's budget last year.

Arizona Republican Rep. Andy Biggs said on Friday that the Pentagon consistently receives more funding from Congress even though it cannot pass a full audit.

He also said the Government Accountability Office has had the Pentagon on its critical financial list for 30 years.

"They don't know where almost two thirds of their assets are," he told Just the News.

The Pentagon failed another audit last November.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday that "undoubtedly, hundreds of amendments" will be filed on the Senate's version.

On Friday, Schumer and South Carolina Republican Sen. Mike Rounds announced that the they had introduced an amendment that would require the Pentagon to declassify federal government records related to "Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena and UFOs." 

Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene told reporters on Friday that McCarthy said he would appoint her to a House-Senate conference committee to reconcile the final defense bill, given that the Senate is expected to pass its own version of the bill rather than take up the House-passed bill. 

Just the News reached out to Schumer's office for his reaction to the House-passed bill. In response, spokesperson said the majority leader has “filed cloture” for the Senate’s bill. 

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