According to conservatives, the problem with the military is not the endless war, the relentless global policing, the innocent lives wrapped up in struggles of territory and greed, nor even the trillions that back it all. The problem is the military is just too woke.
Republicans have submitted hundreds of amendments to the national defense authorization bill, hoping to pass their extreme priorities into law.
It’s not yet clear when we’ll have the final list of amendments to be voted on, as Republicans are pushing the House Rules committee for more to be added for consideration.
Still, here are some of the most radical amendments Republicans have been focusing on:
Banning Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
One amendment, introduced by Representatives Greg Steube and Claudia Tenney, would prohibit “the use of Federal funds for any DEI activity in the Armed Forces, National Academies, and Department of Defense (DOD).”
Apparently, it’s okay for the Supreme Court to carve out an affirmative action exception for the military, but it’s not okay to have a conversation about those recipients being treated decently.
Limiting Service Members’ Access to Abortion
Another amendment, backed by scores of Republicans, would prohibit “the Secretary of Defense from paying for or reimbursing expenses relating to abortion services.” That would overturn current Defense Department policy that helps military members who are seeking abortion, but are stationed in a state where it is banned, with their travel expenses.
What better way to affirm that soldiers are pawns for the American empire than by insistently eroding their bodily autonomy in whatever way you can?
Representatives Lauren Boebert, Eli Crane, Josh Brecheen, and Mary Miller wanted to ensure the whole of the far-right agenda got representation, introducing an amendment to prohibit “Department of Defense Education Activity schools from purchasing and having pornographic and radical gender ideology books in their libraries.”
Surely, a very real problem that merits even seconds on the floor of the United States Congress, as it grapples with the billions it dedicates towards policing the world.
Prohibiting Funds for Climate Change
Several other amendments focused on climate, calling to prohibit federal funds to support green energy efforts, and another outright prohibiting the Defense Department “from carrying out Biden’s climate change executive orders.”
After all, why would we even consider defining “public service” to mean serving the public who is drowning in floods, collapsing in the heat, and choking in the smog?
Restrictions on Military Aid for Ukraine, but not Saudi Arabia or Israel
And of course, Republicans found a way to target military aid for Ukraine in a way they certainly did not with Israel or Saudi Arabia.
Representative Wesley Hunt introduced an amendment to stop any funding for Ukraine “unless an equal amount is made available to the Secretary of Homeland Security for the construction of physical barriers along the southern border.” (Funny, given a separate, to-be-voted on amendment from Representative Brecheen and Representative Dale Strong “to use, transfer or donate excess border wall construction materials.”)
Meanwhile, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene introduced a slew of Ukraine-related amendments, including ones to outright ban funding for Ukraine until a “diplomatic solution” is reached, and striking $300 million of funding. She also submitted one calling for the U.S. to withdraw from NATO.
While Republicans were eager to terminate aid to a nation fighting off invasion, they were just as eager to protect another occupying nation. An amendment introduced by Representatives Scott Perry, Bob Good, and Crane would bar “funding to any organization or any country that has labeled Israel as an “apartheid” state.” A United Nations investigator accused Israel of apartheid last year.
There are plenty of issues with America’s defense spending priorities, namely, that it has always been so bloated, and so used for ill ends. And despite this historical and ongoing legacy, and despite where those trillions of dollars could go instead, the military budget has generally maintained an upward trend. Nevertheless, Republicans are introducing amendments that ignore any of those broader issues, instead projecting their radical domestic agenda onto the military.