The political ball is in the court of the Democrats who control the Senate, where Majority Leader Chuck Schumer may make his party’s preferred projects prominent in that chamber’s version of the bill.
The NDAA is a series of federal laws that specify that annual budget and expenditures of the U.S. Department of Defense.
The House bill included a number of amendments aimed at eliminating liberal and social engineering projects that have crept into the military under Biden administration. In one example, a House amendment would rescind the Pentagon’s program that gives paid leave and travel reimbursement to female servicemembers seeking abortions.
It is against federal code for the Pentagon to use taxpayer funds to pay for abortions but the abortion-defending Left is ignoring federal law in light of the Dobbs ruling.
Other House amendments are aimed at transgender medical procedures and various diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives within the Department of Defense.
Schumer warns against ‘toxic’ amendments to NDAA
“I certainly hope we do not see the kind of controversy that severely hindered the NDAA process over in the House,” Sen. Schumer warned on the Senate floor. “Both sides should defeat potentially toxic amendments and refrain from delaying the NDAA’s passage.”
Now Schumer may attach the Credit Card Competition Act to the Senate’s NDAA bill.
The Credit Card Competition Act is a bill that seeks to enhance competition and choice in the credit card market. It would require banks to name an additional network besides Visa or Mastercard to process credit card transactions, giving merchants some choice and leading networks to compete on the basis of interchange fees and security.
Critics see it as legislation that could bail out Target after the popular retailer took a big hit in the spring for force-feeding the transgender agenda to its customers through merchandise offerings.
“They were first denied they had this at all, then they were caught red handed and they denied it was addressed to kids like it wasn’t in kid sizes next to the kid section. There’s no question that Target has been acting inappropriately and dodging and weaving any attempt for accountability,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) said on Washington Watch Tuesday. “It’s not just that. They’ve also been using racial quotas in hiring which is both unpopular and illegal. It’s the exact kind of thing the Supreme Court just ruled against.”
Unlike the possible inclusion of the Credit Card Competition Act in a Senate version of NDAA, the amendments in the House version have a clear intent to do away with practices that are harmful for morale in the military.
A tale of two servicemembers
Cotton gave show host Tony Perkins a very vivid example of how morale could be affected by the current DOD abortion policy.
“Imagine two airmen at Little Rock Air Force Base," he said. "The first one walks into her commander and says, ‘Sir, I am pregnant. I want to take abortion leave. That commander has no choice but to sign her leave form for three weeks of paid leave. Not weeks that come out of her annual 30 days of leave, but three weeks of uncharged paid leave, plus her travel, plus her lodging, plus her meals.
“The next airman comes in and says, ‘Sir, a terrible thing has happened. My mother died unexpectedly last night. Can I have leave to go attend to her affairs and say goodbye at her funeral? The commander says, ‘Yes, you may, but you have to take it out of your 30 days of annual leave, and you'll have to pay full freight for your own expenses. Just think about how distorted those priorities are, yet that's the current state of the Biden Department of Defense.”
Cotton said unrelated add-ons in the NDAA could bog down meaningful work by taking the Senate down a path in which members constantly clamor for their own pet projects.
“Whatever you think of the Credit Card Competition Act, it's not appropriate to be trying to include such extraneous legislation to our annual defense bill. This bill passes every year, going back more than 60 years," Cotton pressed. "If we allow it to become just another Christmas tree piece of legislation I'm afraid that our Congress will be heading in the direction of just having two massive bills that pass every year."
Those bills would be an annual spending bill and the NDAA, Cotton said.
Gaetz promises fight against 'woke'
Regardless of what NDAA bill the Senate might pass, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) says House Republicans will remain strong in their commitment to “course-correct” the U.S. military.
“We're not going to authorize a woke military that works against the interests of our service members and their families," said the Florida congressman, who also appeared Tuesday on "Washington Watch" program.
"We're not going to authorize a military that doesn't put the defense of our nation first and paramount over all other concerns," he continued. "We’re trying to get a course-correction in place."
In his radio interview, Cotton said Schumer’s current handling of the Senate is a poor reflection of leadership since senators will cast numerous votes over three days of work.
"That means a grand total of 44 hours from first vote to last vote, and that includes all the time for sleeping and for eating," he complained. "I think Chuck Schumer could be working a little bit harder if he was that concerned about the people's business and the national defense."
Editor's note: Headline revised to reflect that Sen. Schumer may add his amendment, not that he has done so.