DOD Woke Agenda

Top Armed Services Democrat sees hard path to pass final defense bill

The top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee previewed his party’s negotiating strategy and red lines for hammering out a compromise defense policy bill loaded with partisan amendments from the conservative Freedom Caucus, while speaking at the annual Defense News Conference on Wednesday.

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., said Democrats could possibly look at modified versions of certain House Freedom Caucus amendments added to the fiscal 2024 National Defense Authorization Act, but expressed skepticism that would be enough to reach an accord with the right-flank of the Republican caucus.

“There is no National Defense Authorization Act that Chip Roy votes for and Democrats vote for,” Smith told Defense N ews, referencing the Republican congressman from Texas. “Whatever modest little things we could do are simply not going to be enough for the Freedom Caucus.”

Roy is one of the Freedom Caucus members who added partisan amendments to the defense bill in July. The amendments prompted Democrats to vote against the bill in droves, resulting in narrow passage of the typically bipartisan legislation in a 219-210 vote.

A Roy amendment to the bill would bar the Pentagon from implementing Biden’s executive orders on climate change.

The Senate passed its version of the defense policy bill in July with robust bipartisan support in an 86-11 vote, setting up a showdown with the House over the Freedom Caucus amendments that Democrats view as poison pills.

Other Freedom Caucus amendments that House Republicans added to their bill would stop the Pentagon from implementing diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, initiatives, its abortion travel leave policy and medical care for transgender troops.

“The bill that we passed out of committee had some criticisms of DEI in a variety of different forms,” said Smith. “If they wish to regulate how they do DEI at the Pentagon, if they’re truly worried about extreme proposals and things like critical race theory, we can talk about that.”

“We can also look at the provisions on the climate change initiatives,” he added. “I don’t know if there’s some way to subtly modify those.” . . . . (read more on Federal Times)

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