House Republicans’ new defense bill takes aim at LGBTQ policies in the military

Daily Caller News Foundation

House Republicans have introduced new funding and policy changes for defense spending bills coming later this year — which include plans to block funding for left-wing initiatives, including LGBTQ ideology and diversity training.

The House Appropriations Committee finished a round of markups for an $826 billion defense spending bill on Thursday, and the House Armed Services Committee finished its markups for the National Defense Authorization Act on Wednesday afternoon. Among the markups to the two bills — besides increases in defense discretionary spending — is a resolution to reverse policies that fund abortions, promote drag queen military recruiters and enforce diversity training, which Republican lawmakers said brought “discredit upon the military.”

Among the many reversals in the bill markups is the decision to ban funding for diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives (DEI) – which have been decried by over 160 retired U.S. generals and admirals, who wrote a letter calling on Congress to remove such programs. 

“This administration has a growing obsession with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, or DEI, a college campus fad that teaches America is fundamentally racist and can only be fixed by discriminating against American males with European ancestry,” wrote retired U.S. military officer Hung Cao. “DEI is unpopular in the military, a place where troops may be rightfully hesitant to serve under a commander selected for the color of his skin rather than the content of his character.” 

Appropriations Defense Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert said in a statement that the bill is meant to ensure that the Department of Defense (DOD) “focuses on its mission — not culture wars.”

“This bill rejects many of the Biden Administration’s misguided funding proposals, such as climate change initiatives, far-left social policies, and shrinking the Navy,” said Calvert.

The defense bill markups also look to reverse policies favoring individuals who identify as part of the LGBTQ community. According to the bill, funding will be prohibited for individuals seeking
sex change procedures, such as reassignment surgery. It will also ban funding for drag queen story hour in military installations and in schools funded by the Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA)

DODEA-funded schools have been the subject of immense backlash following reports of pornographic books being promoted to students, according to Fox News. The bill also bans funding for drag queens being hired as military recruiters, which the U.S. Navy was criticized for after hiring one to do so late last year.

The bill proposal would also prohibit funding for service members who seek paid time off or travel funds to get an abortion, which reverses a decision by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who permitted funding for such circumstances in October 2022.

Additionally, the proposed bill would cut off funding for $714 million in climate change initiatives, including a proposed regulation that only allows DOD to work with contractors who follow “science-based emission reduction targets” as strictly defined by the Biden White House.

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