Biden Takes the Military Hostage to Abortion: Will Congress Surrender?
There’s no such thing as a drama-free December in D.C. — even without a government shutdown on the holiday horizon. Before Congress calls it quits on 2023, there are plenty of things for the parties to squabble over, including the mammoth National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). In a city where consensus is rarer than a Santa sighting, the troop bill is probably the only area of consistent compromise. In fact, the military’s budget passes so reliably that it hasn’t missed a year since “West Side Story” was in theaters and gas cost $.27 a gallon. But that six-decade streak is on the line right now, and there’s no one to blame but radical Democrats.
As most people in D.C. have learned, getting the military funded is usually a battle in itself. “I’m optimistic we will find a reasonable compromise that both chambers can support,” House Armed Services Chair Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) told reporters this week. It was a sanguine view for a debate mired in everything from abortion politics to cryptocurrency fights.
As onlookers know, the House and Senate each passed versions of the NDAA earlier in the year — the trouble now is finding language that the two chambers, both led by different parties, will support. For the last several weeks, one of the most significant snags centers around a 2022 decision by President Joe Biden to put taxpayers on the hook for military abortions, a policy that Republicans (rightly) fume is illegal without Congress’s approval. It’s that same White House decision that sparked Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville’s (R) move to put a hold on high-ranking military promotions. He’d hoped his stand, now nine months strong, would force Democrats to the negotiating table.
Instead, the White House has preferred to battle it out in the press, absurdly blaming Tuberville for everything from the military’s recruitment woes to readiness issues. Realizing the Left has no interest in actually solving the problem, conservatives are turning to the NDAA in the hopes that they can not only break the logjam on military promotions but also stop the Biden administration from crossing a bright red statutory line.
Fortunately, there’s language in the House bill that rolls back Biden’s taxpayer-funded abortion con. But as both sides of the Capitol hammer out the final text, the big question is whether Republicans will have the stomach to hold the line on what Family Research Council President Tony Perkins calls “a very, very significant issue.”
“If Republicans fold on this basic principle of life, post-Roe, it’s a policy disaster — and it’s also a political disaster,” he told The Washington Stand. “Because the pro-life community will see the Republicans surrender, and it will cause more elected officials to walk away from the life issue, which means more pro-lifers will walk away from the ballot box. So this is very, very significant.”
The predominate view among Senate Republicans, Perkins said, “is that after a little pressure, we’ll wave a white flag on social issues and move on.” It’s a trend pro-lifers have watched unfold as more GOP liberals openly attack Tuberville. “I don’t think it’s that way in the House,” Perkins insisted.
Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) was living proof of that on “Washington Watch” Wednesday, when he reemphasized his support for the House NDAA. Asked if the amendment he and Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) attached to stop the Pentagon’s radical policy would have sufficient support, he replied, “That is certainly my position. It’s certainly the position of the Freedom Caucus, and I hope it will continue to be. … The position of the current administration, the Biden administration, has been to expand — contrary to law — the ability of members of the military and the Department of Defense to travel to go get abortions, all at taxpayer expense. … Well, that’s against the law,” he argued.
“We worked in July to pass in the National Defense Authorization Act limits on that to constrain the abuse of the law by the Biden administration. And unfortunately, they’re trying to ignore that in the Senate,” Roy explained. “What’s happening right now is that [Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer and some of the Republicans in the Senate are trying to pregame out a compromise on this to water it down, take out the abortion protections, take out the transgender surgeries restrictions, take out the critical race theory and DEI [prohibitions] that we put in there to limit the abuses and the woke stuff.” Walking away from that bill, the Texas congressman agreed, should be a “nonstarter.”
What’s different this time around, Roy pointed out, is that the House has a very strong conservative as Speaker of the House. “And so I’m hopeful that [Speaker Mike Johnson] … will adhere to those agreements that we made in January and force the Senate to do their job. … We need to make sure that we’re fighting to defend the House’s position. We passed a good bill.”
For Democrats and squishy Republicans, who are desperately looking for a way to move the 350-plus military promotions forward, this is an easy fix. “Is this not the off-ramp they’ve been looking [for]?” Perkins asked. “Just adopt the NDAA as passed by the House that addresses this issue. This takes care of the promotion issue as well.”
“One hundred percent,” Roy agreed. “And let’s be clear to everyone out there listening. Coach Tuberville deserves praise for having the courage to stand up and try to [stop the] taxpayer funding of abortion and abortion tourism. I wish more of his Senate colleagues were standing alongside him.” Then, after a pause, he said, “I want to be very clear. There are a lot of senators who run as pro-life senators who are not standing with Coach Tuberville and who are all too happy to move an NDAA that removes our protection for life.”
Presumably, he was pointing the finger at the outspoken social liberals in the Senate GOP: Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Todd Young (R-Ind.), and Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who not only voted to redefine marriage but openly sided with Biden on this issue of taxpayer-funded abortion.
And yet, as Perkins pointed out, there’s absolutely no reason for Republicans to cave on this issue. “No reason. This is a 60, 65, 70% issue across the board in America.”
Roy agreed. “I know that the vast majority of the American people, regardless of where they fall on the spectrum on abortion … don’t want taxpayer funding. They want us to stay focused on a military doing its job. So let’s pull all that out. It’s Democrats who want to politicize our defense, and we’re the ones who want to get it focused on its job.”
FRC’s Quena Gonzalez has been disgusted by the media’s biased characterization of this debate. “We didn’t change the ground rules, President Biden did. We did not inject these issues into the military, Democrats did. Voters need to remind their senators and congressmen of that and tell them to keep taxpayer-funded abortion out of the Defense bill.”
It’s been an uncontroversial, bipartisan principle for decades that Americans shouldn’t be on the hook for the killing of innocent unborn life. “And we shouldn’t be the ones that have to surrender that stated policy,” Perkins insisted. And yet incredibly, Roy said, “Democrats are complaining that we’re the ones injecting social issues into this.” He shook his head. “No, they’re the ones that injected cultural and social issues. And Coach Tuberville stood up. We stood up in the House. And, dadgummit, the Senate needs to stand up and … help us hold the line with the House-passed bill from July.”
Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.