House GOP Passes Defense Bill With Abortion Restrictions

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July 14, 2023

The House of Representatives passed its version of a sweeping bill setting policy for the Department of Defense on Friday, but the "must-pass" bill's chances of becoming law were uncertain after Republicans added a series of culturally conservative amendments, including restricting federal funding of abortion expenses.

The fiscal 2024 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, which sets policy for the Pentagon and authorizes $886 billion in spending, was approved 219-210.

The vote was largely along party lines, a departure from the typical bipartisan support for a bill that has passed every year since 1961.

The House voted 221 to 213 for an amendment that would reverse the Defense Department's policy of reimbursing expenses for service members who travel to obtain an abortion.

"House Republicans today passed an NDAA that increases our military’s lethality and decreases the wokeness that has been infused in its ranks in recent years," Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R., Ga.) said of the bill.

The House measure includes a pay raise for members of the military, initiatives to counter China, and an additional $300 million to support Ukraine as it responds to the February 2021 invasion by Russia.

House Republicans were able to pass their amendments without Democratic support, but such provisions would die in the Senate, where President Joe Biden's fellow Democrats hold a 51-49 majority.

Debate in that chamber is set to begin on Tuesday.

The Senate is expected to pass its version of the NDAA later this month, after which the two chambers will negotiate a compromise that would come up for a vote later this year.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Ismail Shakil and David Gregorio)

Published under: Abortion