House of Representatives Sends National Defense Authorization to President Biden’s Desk – RedState

House of Representatives Sends National Defense Authorization to President Biden’s Desk – RedState

On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed the National Defense (NDAA) Authorization bill, which now goes to President Biden’s desk for approval.

The House passed the annual Defense authorization bill Thursday, sending the $886 billion Pentagon policy and funding package to President Biden’s desk.

The vote was 310-118, with 45 Democrats and 73 Republicans opposing the measure. The House passed the legislation under a suspension of the rules, which means it needed a two-thirds majority. 

The final version of National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), agreed to between the House and Senate, overcame opposition from hard-line conservatives who objected to its exclusion of a number of amendments passed by the House over the summer to weed out what they call “woke” Pentagon policies.  

Among the “woke” Pentagon policies that the conservatives in the House sought to have struck out were Pentagon-funded “Pride” events, and a version of the WW2-era “Lend-Lease” Act to provide equipment and munitions to Ukraine. The Ukraine spending alone amounts to $800 million, on top of $75 billion already given in aid and logistical support to the embattled eastern European nation. The NDAA also comes at a time when the Pentagon is under fire for repeatedly failing audits on “standalone entities” that control trillions in combined assets and liabilities.

It may be something of an understatement to note that the conservative wing of the House Republican caucus was not satisfied with the final bill.

House and Senate negotiators released the compromise version of the NDAA last week, stripping out a ban on the Defense Department’s abortion policy and a prohibition on Pentagon funding for gender-affirming care, along with other contentious provisions.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) railed against the NDAA for failing to include the GOP priorities.

“There is no justification for supporting a bill that does not materially change the direction of our military away from social engineering,” Roy said on the floor.

The final bill was not a complete loss for Republicans, as a few key elements were retained:

Other provisions left in the NDAA restrict critical race theory — an academic framework evaluating U.S. history through the lens of racism that has become a political catch-all buzzword for any race-related teaching — at military academies, banned unauthorized flags on military bases, which would prohibit LGBTQ flags, and ordered the consideration of reinstating troops discharged for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine.

One of the more contentious issues in the NDAA was the provisions extending Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA.) Conservative and libertarian groups have claimed that FISA provides federal law enforcement with a “back door” for examining the phone records, emails, and other electronic communications of American citizens. FISA is ostensibly a process for gathering intelligence on foreign actors without requiring a warrant. Still, Republican lawmakers claim the process can be used to surveil American citizens who are, so to speak, caught up in the net.

“Surveillance of U.S. citizens, trampling on our most precious constitutional freedoms in this country with no reforms,” Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) said on the FISA extension. “The NDAA is a bad bill, attaching it to FISA makes it that much worse. Every Republican should vote against it.”

The approved NDAA now goes to President Biden for signature. The President is expected to approve the bill.

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