Congress’ Defense Bill Was A Huge Win For The GOP, Conservatives Say

 Congress’ defense bill contains several wins for the GOP, including overturning the vaccine mandate for troops, lawmakers and advocates for conservative causes told the Daily Caller News Foundation, although both sides made compromises in the end.

The 2023 defense bill went to President Joe Biden’s desk Thursday evening after passing the Senate 83-11, boasting an $858 billion topline $45 billion higher than the administration’s initial budget request. The final product included compromises from both Republicans and Democrats, but conservative activists and members of congress said the bill addressed major defense needs and successfully struck down “woke” priorities.

“From the repeal of the COVID vaccine mandate to the exclusion of Draft our Daughters, conservatives were able to achieve some major victories in the 2023 NDAA,” Jessica Anderson, executive director of conservative advocacy organization Heritage Action, told the DCNF. “Thanks to the congressional leaders who listened to conservatives, this legislation appropriately funds our military while leaving out the Left’s woke wishlist.” 

Republicans succeeded in working in an amendment to overturn the Biden administration’s mandatory vaccine mandate for troops, which they have criticized for impinging on freedom of conscience rights and contributing to the military’s recruiting crisis. However, a follow-up measure aimed at re-enlisting and providing compensation to troops discharged for refusing the vaccine, wedged into Thursday’s voting session at the last minute, failed.

Republicans also thwarted an eleventh-hour attempt to include Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s Biden-supported permitting reform proposal in the final bill after blocking it from the text earlier.

The bill “invests significantly more than President Biden called for, and it also excludes the worst aspects of the Democrats’ social engineering plans,” Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton said in a statement.

Congress once again repealed a Democrat-led measure requiring women to register for the selective service, and several proposed amendments dealing with gender identity and diversity, equity and inclusion in the Department of Defense (DOD) were also left out of the final bill, Anderson said. Lawmakers scrapped or severely undercut Democrat-sponsored provisions in the House bill centered around requiring the DOD to report on the threat terrorist organizations, white supremacist gangs and other criminal groups pose to the U.S. public and military amid widespread Republican opposition to DOD involvement in anti-domestic extremism pursuits.

It also excludes Democratic priorities not related to defense, such as the “discriminatory” Pregnant Workers Fairness Act some conservatives feared would allow for paid abortion leav,e and a corporate media carveout provision, Anderson explained.

Finally, the bill calls for the Inspectors General for the DOD, State Department and United States Agency for International Development to submit a report detailing the framework they are using for oversight of weapons and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, identify instances of misuse and any failures to prevent fraud. Republicans previously said enhancing oversight of the Biden administration’s Ukraine aid would be a priority in the new Congress.

Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher “absolutely thinks the NDAA is a win for our troops and the security of our nation, coming in well above the President’s budget request and funding some really important programs,” a spokesperson told the DCNF. His office highlighted robust funding and accelerated weapons sales for Taiwan and investments in solutions to the Navy’s shipbuilding and planning predicaments as further accomplishments.

However, Gallagher was disappointed that his proposed ban on Chinese-made DJI drones, including the the House version of the bill passed in July, failed to make it into the final text, the spokesperson added.

In addition, Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley called the bill “lousy,” saying it failed to reinstate servicemembers discharged over the vaccine mandate and is “full of climate garbage” in a statement. However, the senator was pleased his non-defense duck boat safety legislation passed after three years of effort, he added.

While Democrats included a provision mandating the DOD transition its fleet of non-tactical vehicles to run on renewable energy sources by 2035, Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst piled on requirements for the Pentagon to conduct a thorough cost estimate and evaluate supply chain vulnerabilities related to China, according to Defense News.

Republicans and Democrats agreed to fund bipartisan priorities centered around ensuring the well-being of armed forces personnel and defending U.S. allies.

Members of both parties lauded the 4.6% military pay raise authorized atop a boost to servicemembers’ basic housing allowance and investments in aging housing complexes. They also hailed the Taiwan Enhanced Resilience Act, which allocates up to $10 billion in security aid for Taiwan over five years.

Senators and Representatives boasted of achieving at least one amendment particularly important to their constituents.

“I can’t go through every single item that is in this bill, but I can tell you that just about every member of this House has something in this bill that is important for policy, important in their district,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Democratic Rep. Adam Smith of Washington said ahead of the vote, The Hill reported.

Congress’ Defense Bill Was A Huge Win For The GOP, Conservatives Say Congress’ Defense Bill Was A Huge Win For The GOP, Conservatives Say Reviewed by Your Destination on December 19, 2022 Rating: 5

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