Military Funding Bill Passes House, Includes Conservative Priorities

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) 217-199 Friday, largely along party lines. Conservatives attached a number of amendments, which the mainstream media described as “culture war amendments,” designed to keep social issues out of the military.

The NDAA is an annual, must-pass bill that authorizes appropriations for the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and sets DOD policies.

Due to its must-pass, pro-military nature, progressives in Congress have used the NDAA to advance their policy agenda by attaching left-wing riders to a bill they know many Republicans will support. Since retaking control of the House of Representatives, where all such spending bills must originate, Republicans have sought to reverse the progressive Left’s social engineering of the U.S. military by disentangling it from abortion, LGBT ideology, and DEI practices.

Although most Republicans voted for the fiscal year (FY) 2025 NDAA and most Democrats voted against it, due to the conservative-leaning policies included, a handful of members did cross the aisle. Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), and Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) voted against the NDAA. Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Don Davis (D-N.C.), Jared Golden (D-Maine), Vincente Gonzalez (D-Texas), Mary Peltota (D-Alaska), and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-Wash.) voted for the bill.

Before the bill’s final passage, the NDAA went through the customary amend-a-thon. Members of Congress submitted hundreds of amendments, and they voted on the amendments ruled in order on Thursday. Highlights of those amendments are divided into categories below:

Abortion:

  • Amendment #55, proposed by Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-Texas), prohibits the Secretary of Defense from paying for or reimbursing expenses relating to abortion services. The House adopted it 214-206, with most Republicans and one Democrat (Cuellar) voting “yes” and most Democrats and two Republicans (Reps. John Duarte (Calif.) and Brian Fitzpatrick, Pa.) voting “no.”

Religious Liberty:

  • Amendment #341, proposed by Rep. Keith Self (R-Texas), requires the Secretary of Defense to review and repair the personnel records of military chaplains who suffered forced separation, downgraded performance reports, denials of promotion, schooling, training, or assignment, or any other adverse personnel actions as retaliation for seeking a Religious Accommodation Request (RAR) to the COVID-19 vaccination mandate. The House adopted this amendment “en bloc” (with other amendments considered uncontroversial), which means there was no recorded vote.

LGBT Ideology:

  • Amendment #52, proposed by Rosendale, prohibits the provision of gender transition procedures, including surgery or wrong-sex hormones, through TRICARE and the Department of Defense. The U.S. House adopted it 213-206, with most of the Republicans and one Democrat (Cuellar) voting “yes” and most of the Democrats and one Republican (Rep. Tony Gonzales, Texas) voting “no.”
  • Amendment #53, proposed by Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), prohibits the provision of gender transition procedures, including surgery or wrong-sex hormones, through the Exceptional Family Medical Program. The House adopted it 218-205, with most Republicans and one Democrat (Cuellar) voting “yes” and most Democrats and one Republican (Rep. Neal Dunn, Fla.) voting “no.”
  • Amendment #46, proposed by Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.), prohibits DoD’s military base schools, DODEA, from purchasing, displaying, or maintaining material that promotes radical gender ideology or pornographic content. The House adopted it 221-202, with all Republicans and three Democrats (Cuellar, Davis, and Gonzalez) voting “yes” and most Democrats voting “no.”
  • Amendment #54, proposed by Reps. Josh Brecheen (R-Okla.) and Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), prohibits drag shows, drag queen story hours, and similar events. The House adopted it by voice vote, which means the votes of individual members were not recorded.

DEI:

  • Amendment #43, proposed by Reps. Clay Higgins (R-La.), Chip Roy (R-Texas), and Duncan, eliminates the position of Chief Diversity Officer of the Department of Defense and prohibits the establishment of any substantially similar position. The House adopted it 214-210, with most Republicans voting “yes,” while all Democrats and four Republicans (Reps. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (Ore.), Fitzpatrick, Thomas Kean (N.J.), and Mike Turner (Ohio)) voting “no.”

“Misinformation”:

  • Amendment #45, proposed by Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas), prohibits funding of companies whose operations, activities, or products, function to demonetize or rate the credibility of a domestic entity (including news and information outlets) based on lawful speech of such domestic entity under the stated function of “fact-checking” misinformation, disinformation, or mal-information. The House adopted it 218-206 with all Republicans voting “yes” and all Democrats voting “no.”

Israel:

  • Amendment #5, proposed by Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.), prohibits U.S. funds from building or rebuilding in the Gaza Strip. The House adopted the amendment by voice vote.

These are the nine amendments tracked by Family Research Council Action, on the organization’s core issues of life, religious liberty, and sexuality, as well as other important topics, such as opposing the DEI worldview, protecting free speech, and supporting the nation of Israel. All nine amendments tracked by FRC Action were passed, making the NDAA for FY 2025 a victory for Bible-believing conservatives.

AUTHOR

Joshua Arnold

Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

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