5 Lies about the NDAA (and Why Senate Republicans Shouldn’t Fall for Them)
This isn’t your grandma’s Republican Party. If anyone doubted it, the latest debate over the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) should have made it abundantly clear: the new House majority is no pushover. After years of letting Democrats pound them into submission where military policy is concerned, the Left is coming to grips with an unfortunate reality. Without squishy Republicans to do their bidding, they have to find another way to keep good bills down. In this case, they’ve chosen a reliable friend — deception.
Last week, House conservatives fought their hearts out to crush the wokeness that’s infiltrated the military under this president. Despite the dire predictions that Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) party would never pass a version with such strong limits on abortion, gender ideology, LGBT Pride, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), Republicans stuck together and did exactly that.
Now, desperate to save the gains they’ve made for extremism in our troops, the Left’s misinformation machine is in its highest gear, cranking out lie after lie about the NDAA the House passed. Here are some that Senate Republicans will have to confront if they want to see the radicalism of the military reversed.
1. Republicans are “eroding women’s rights by … restricting women’s access to abortion, as well as other reproductive care procedures.”
Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) is just one of the dozens of Democrats who’ve hopped on that messaging train, seizing on the GOP’s push to roll back the Pentagon’s new taxpayer-funded palooza. Under Secretary Lloyd Austin, the Defense Department (DOD) made the unilateral — and unconstitutional — decision last year to put taxpayers on the hook for elective abortions in the military, infuriating any respecter of U.S. law.
Before Austin’s policy took effect in early March, taxpayers were only responsible for a servicemember’s abortion in the extreme cases of rape, incest, or if the life of the mother was at risk. That translated into about 20 abortions a year. But the DOD argued that the limitations were affecting military readiness, and that America’s mission would be better served if the Pentagon opened shop for all service members’ — and their dependents’ — abortions.
“The people across this nation do not believe that taxpayers dollars should be used to fund abortions [or] travel for abortions,” Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) argued on “Washington Watch” Friday. It’s a violation of the Hyde Amendment, he insisted, pointing to the law that protects taxpayers from supporting the bloody business of abortion.
Just as importantly, it’s an abuse of the executive branch’s power. “Unfortunately,” Rosendale pointed out, “the Democrat[ic] Party has gone so far to the Left that they’re trying to ignore law. They’re trying to ignore statute, and they’re utilizing either executive orders or trying to put rules in place that contradict the statute.”
It has never been the policy of the United States military to fund the war on the unborn, and the idea that President Biden thinks he can just wave a wand and change a congressionally-enacted law is outrageous.
On “Fox News Sunday,” Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) was adamant. “The military should not be paying for abortion tourism,” referring to the fact that taxpayers are also being forced to pay the tab for women in red states to travel to abortion-friendly areas to destroy human life. “It shouldn’t be taxpayer funds giving them three weeks of paid, uncharged leave and then also paying for travel and lodging and meal. [That's] something that we don’t even give our troops when they have a parent die or a sibling die, or a beloved grandparent dies.”
2. Republicans “have hijacked” the NDAA to “jam their extreme right-wing ideology down the throats of the American people.”
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) has desperately tried to keep up that drumbeat, blaming Republicans for the social extremism his party injected in the military. After all, it wasn’t the GOP that bypassed Congress to shoehorn things like military drag shows, transgenderism, abortion on demand, critical race theory, climate change, and other toxic concepts and programs into the nation’s fighting force.
And yet, the Left isn’t just blaming conservatives, they’re suggesting that rolling back these wokeisms “undermines our ability to meet the national security objectives of this country.” That was Rep. Adam Smith’s (D-Wash.) absurd accusation late last week.
“It is rich to hear these Democrats complaining about a partisan defense bill because this happened when Nancy Pelosi was the Speaker as well," Cotton said. "… [I]t’s Joe Biden and Lloyd Austin — the Democrats — who are politicizing the military."
House Freedom Caucus Chair Scott Perry (R-Pa.) echoed that incredulity on “Washington Watch” with guest host Jody Hice Friday. “Things that we would never have believed in the past were possible [used to] end up in this National Defense Authorization Act — [like] gender reassignment surgery paid for by the taxpayer — or people in uniform paying for abortions with money that should be authorized for [our national] defense in the Pentagon. … But it had gotten so bad that many of us Republicans just simply no longer could support it. Now, of course, we’re in the majority. And so we were expecting a strong conservative Republican National Defense authorization to come out of the House Armed Services Committee.”
And it did. As Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) pointed out, all Republicans want to do is get our troops out of Biden’s culture wars and focused on the real wars facing America. “It is this administration that has turned the Department of Defense into a social-engineering experiment wrapped in a uniform,” Roy said. “The American people I’ve talked to back home don’t want a weak military; they don’t want a woke military; they don’t want rainbow propaganda on bases; they don’t want to pay for troops’ sex changes.”
3. The House bill represents “an unprecedented reach” into issues that have “typically been left to military hierarchy.”
The Pentagon obviously doesn’t appreciate the congressional oversight this House bill represents, and no wonder. They’ve been operating like satellite offices of Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matter, and the Human Rights Campaign for years under this president and his old boss, Barack Obama. Nothing about this proposal is “unprecedented,” as the unnamed Defense official claimed. What is unprecedented is the level of politicization Americans are seeing in our Armed Forces today.
Instead of training our men and women to fight and win wars, we’re devoting entire days to trainings on CRT, DEI, and “domestic extremism” (which, as we’ve learned, is the Left’s code for social conservatism). “Our military is in a very difficult situation right now,” Lt. General (Ret.) Jerry Boykin insisted on “Washington Watch.” “Not only the recruiting and the retention as a result of our youth not being fit for service, but this period of time — and actually it started in the Obama period — when we started this woke stuff. And we’re wasting time. And quite frankly, we have people that are not ready to fight even though they’re in the military, because they’ve lost a lot of their opportunities to train and be ready.”
The NDAA that’s now before the Senate isn’t an overreach. It’s a return to the status quo. It puts the attention back where it belongs: on readiness. “The United States military is supposed to protect our country, and that’s what we did. We deconstructed the largest social experiment that the Left has been able to develop over the last two decades,” Rosendale explained. “[We] restored their mission back to make sure that their focus is on protecting our country.”
“It was always assumed,” Perry agreed, that “no matter what your stripe in Congress, whether you’re a Democrat or Republican or a liberal or a conservative libertarian, [or] anywhere in between, that you were for the defense of the nation. But over the past, I would say 10 years, certainly since President Obama was in office, it has been used as a tool for social engineering to establish another beachhead of this woke leftist agenda. And of course, it’s one of the final frontiers [for] the Marxist and the leftist [Democrats] as they … [do their] march through the institutions.”
This is, very simply, Rosendale said, a vote “for common sense and sanity” — two things that left the military the moment Joe Biden became president.
4. “… [T]he mainstream Republican Party … does not support what [Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville] is doing” in holding up military promotions until the Pentagon backtracks on taxpayer-funded military abortions. "He’s jeopardizing U.S. security ...”
As usual, President Biden is wrong. Not only does the Republican Party support the Alabama coach, they included an amendment in the NDAA to accomplish what he’s been demanding: an end to the DOD’s unlimited abortion on demand. Not only was it “mainstream” (all but two Republicans voted for it), but it was bipartisan too.
Congressman Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) openly said that he was “proud” to work alongside Senator Tuberville “in our efforts to hold the Department of Defense accountable and end this illegal policy.” Perry also applauded the courageous coach. “Kudos to Senator Tommy Tuberville. Coach has stood his ground. He has had incredible pressure, not just from the Left and from the Democrats, but from people in his own party to stand down and to get out of the way of these promotions. And I think that he’s really done a good job of standing fast. And we’re going to try to help him out in the House…”
As Family Research Council President Tony Perkins explained, the issue isn’t Senator Tuberville. “It’s the Biden administration.” They’re the ones violating the law by using taxpayer dollars to facilitate “elective abortions in the military.” As for their bogus claim that his effort is somehow “jeopardizing U.S. security,” that’s ridiculous considering that his hold on military flag officers “could go away overnight if the policy went back to what it was before the Biden administration unlawfully changed it.”
Center for Military Readiness President Elaine Donnelly agrees. “The Founders gave the Senate the power to confirm certain nominees to high federal office,” she told The Washington Stand. “It is one of the ‘checks’ the Constitution places on the Executive branch. The Senate rules, adopted by a majority vote of the senators, allow a single senator to hold nominations. The Dem majority could change the rules if they really believed the world was coming to an end. Why haven’t they? Because they want to use the same power when it suits them. The ball is in the court of the Secretary of Defense.”
If this were the hair-on-fire emergency the White House is making it out to be, there are several solutions. For starters, Senate leaders could hold roll call votes on each individual promotion, instead of approving them all by voice vote. But Democrats, who are the ones calling this a “dangerous and unprecedented move,” don’t want to take up the floor time.
Secondly, Biden could actually sit down and talk to Tuberville. “I’ve gotten even … stronger in my belief of what I’m doing because they continue to say these things in the public’s eye … but they never say anything to me. There’s no discussion. There’s no dialogue. I’ve never heard from the White House. I’ve had a 10-minute discussion with the Department of Defense in the last four months and that’s it.”
Or, “here’s an easy solution to get over the Tuberville problem,” former Congressman Jody Hice told Perry. “Pass the NDAA that y’all just sent over to the Senate. That’ll take care of it.”
5. “This legislation is never getting to the president’s desk.”
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is banking on the fact that Senate Republicans won’t have the spine of their House counterparts. But his prediction is dead wrong. Not only has the Biden administration drastically overstepped in their radical make-over of the military, but — as we saw with the amendment votes in the House — even some Democrats can’t stomach the extremism.
“Of course Democrats are claiming ‘This can’t pass,’” Family Research Council’s Quena Gonzalez told The Washington Stand. “For two years the Biden administration, with the help of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, has had a free hand to make our military a giant social experiment. Now that the new House Republican majority is reasserting itself and pushing to restore the military from woke weakness to strategic strength, radical Democrats — who have been happy to use the military for taxpayer-funded abortion and gender transition procedures — are crying foul. It’s a negotiating tactic, and Senate conservatives should ignore it.”
Gonzalez pushed back on the notion that the House version is dead on arrival, insisting the bill could pass out of the Senate as early as this week.
“Senate Republicans should stand strong and fight to return the military to its core mission: to defend America. Democrats should let Target and Bud Light fight the culture wars; that’s not the mission for our fighting men and women. At a time when the Armed Services are failing to recruit and retain talent, the military’s focus needs to return to the ability to win and deter wars — not divisive DEI training wrapped in personal pronouns with a side of abortion. That’s not what Americans want or need from their military.”
“Congressional conservatives didn’t pick the culture wars in the military,” Gonzalez argued. “They’re trying to end them.”
Let’s hope Senate Republicans have the courage to do the same.
Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.