House Republicans are hoping to use the annual defense policy bill known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to shut down the Biden administration’s “woke” policies related to gender, abortion, and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
GOP lawmakers filed dozens of amendments last week that they are hoping can be included in the NDAA for 2024, which the House Armed Services Committee passed in June. More than 1,300 amendments to that bill were filed last week, and House Republicans could take up the bill as early as next week when they return.
The bill as passed out of committee already includes several “anti-woke” provisions, including language from Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., that would prevent the Pentagon from hiring senior-level DEI officials.
“We passed my amendments slashing DEI bureaucrats, banning race and gender quotas in military recruiting and promotions, reinstating unvaccinated service members fired by the Biden administration, and shutting down the Navy’s drag queen digital ambassador program, and we passed provisions to defund critical race theory courses at West Point and our service academies, fire the chief diversity officer at the DOD and end drag shows at our military bases,” Banks told Fox News Digital last month.
But Republicans are hoping to do more before the bill gets a final vote on the House floor.
Several GOP amendments are aimed at preventing the Pentagon from providing transgender surgeries or other related services to service members. One amendment from Reps. Matt Rosendale of Montana, Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Anna Paulina Luna of Florida would prohibit the military’s health care system from “furnishing sex reassignment surgeries and gender hormone treatments for transgender individuals.”
A related amendment from Boebert and Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina would ban gender transition procedures in care available to military families, and other lawmakers, including Reps. Mary Miller of Illinois and Matt Gaetz of Florida, also seek to ban these surgeries.
Gaetz has two other proposals related to DOD’s gender policies. One would prohibit base reassignments that are related to complaints that a state discriminates against people on the basis of sexual orientation, and the other would prohibit service members from using facilities that are “not reserved for the gender indicated on the birth certificate” of those service members.
Boebert put forward a related amendment that would ban Defense Department schools from “purchasing and having pornographic and radical gender ideology books in their libraries.”
Republicans are also looking to gut the Pentagon’s recent policy of giving service members time off to get an abortion, and to reimburse them for travel costs related to getting an abortion. That policy was put in place after last year’s Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which gave the authority to regulate abortion back to the states.
Rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas put forward an amendment that would ban the Department of Defense form reimbursing expenses incurred when service members travel to get an abortion. Reps. Norman and Jodey Arrington, R-Texas, proposed language that says no federal funds can be spent on “”abortion through financial or logistical support for travel to another state for an abortion.”
Several other amendments are aimed at dismantling the Pentagon’s goal of promoting DEI, a priority for all Biden administration agencies.
Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, who sits on the House Rules Committee that will decide which amendments get a vote, proposed language last week that would prohibit the Pentagon from creating “a position within the Department of Defense for anything similar to Chief Diversity Officers or Senior Advisors for Diversity and Inclusion.”
Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wis., has a proposal to “remove all civil service positions in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion authorized in the bill.”
Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Mo., offered an amendment that “requires a report from the Department of Defense on the total number of manhours and resources expended on diversity, equity and inclusion training in 2023.”
And Gaetz has language that would ban all federal spending in the Pentagon on “training on diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
One of the first jobs for the House Rules Committee when members return to Washington next week is sort out which amendments will get a vote. Some likely will as the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., and several other Republicans have complained for years that the Pentagon is “going woke” under Biden.
Even if some of these amendments pass the House, they may not pass the Senate – House and Senate negotiators would meet to sort out their differences if each chamber passes a different version of the NDAA.