April 12, 2024

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US House vote in troubled waters

US House vote in troubled waters

This year, under pressure from hardliners in his own party, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy introduced a series of controversial conservative amendments to the NDAA.

The Hill reports that at least five of these hangers-on — related to explosive issues like abortion and transgender rights — were approved in a broadly party vote last night.

The most important of these initiatives is an amendment that abolishes the Pentagon’s policy of reimbursing travel expenses for military personnel who have had abortions.

Only two Republicans, Brian Fitzpatrick (Pennsylvania) and John Duarte (California), opposed the amendment, with Rep. Henry Cuellar (Texas) the only Democrat to vote “yes.”

This week, the paper reported, members of the ruling party had specifically pointed to the proposal as a poison pill that would undermine their support for the NDA as a whole.

The NDAA’s initial framework was approved last month by the Armed Services Committee in a bipartisan vote of 58-1, but the changes immediately began to spark anger among Democrats who will oppose the final bill when it hits the floor on Friday.

During the vote the day before, amendments were passed to limit sexual diversity initiatives and veto access to sex reassignment therapies, according to local media reports.

At the same time, legislative proposals to restrict U.S. military support to Ukraine have failed, and Republicans and Democrats have largely opposed them.

“I have no doubt there will be a lot of Democratic votes,” said Dean Phillips, R-Minnesota, a centrist in the Problem Solving caucus.

For the bill to pass, McCarthy and the Republican leaders in the House of Representatives will have to rely on Democrats to get past amendments that address explosive social issues.

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