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House Republicans try to stop military funded abortions in annual budget bill

Jul 10, 2023

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Congress is working to approve the National Defense Authorization Act before members leave Washington for the entire month of August. The bill is one Congress passes every year on a bipartisan basis, but disagreements over the military’s abortion policy could slow it down in the coming weeks. 

Lawmakers have already made significant progress toward passing the bill. It sailed through the Armed Services Committees in both chambers nearly unanimously.

The legislation is filled with non-controversial items like a 5% pay raise for the troops, an increase to the basic housing allowance military members use to pay rent or their mortgage, and it will fund improvements to the quality of barracks for enlisted members. 

It also includes money to build new nuclear submarines, improve camouflage for Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters and funding for the development of a brand new nuclear-armed cruise missile that will be launched from sea to possibly combat China and Russia. 

But it could hit a roadblock because a group of House Republicans are joining Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., in trying to force the Defense Department to change its abortion policy. 

Lawmakers will have to vote on a number of proposals. One from Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, would bar the Pentagon from spending any money on abortions unless the mother’s life is in danger or the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest. 

There’s also an amendment to prohibit the Biden administration from making decisions about where to put new military bases based on the state’s abortion policy. There are also some proposed provisions banning the use of federal funds for gender reassignment surgeries. 

Sen. Tuberville has been blocking all military nominations for months to protest the Defense Department’s policy that offers reimbursements for abortions and travel expenses related to the procedure. Tuberville’s protest has kept the military from filling key positions, including a commandant for the Marine Corps. 

These abortion-related amendments need 218 votes to be approved in the House. It’s unlikely they will pass and if they did, they would not get through the Senate. But the votes will make the bill’s final passage more complicated and could impact the number of lawmakers who ultimately vote to approve the full package. 

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Congress is working to approve the National Defense Authorization Act before they leave Washington for the entire month of August. It’s a bill they pass every year to fund the military. 

 

They’ve already made significant progress. It sailed through the Armed Services Committees in both chambers nearly unanimously. The legislation is filled with non-controversial items like a 5 percent pay raise for the troops, an increase to their basic housing allowance which military members use to pay rent or their mortgage, and it will fund improvements to the quality of barracks for enlisted members. 

 

It also includes money to build new nuclear submarines, improve camouflage for black hawk and chinook helicopters and develop a brand new nuclear-armed cruise missile that will be launched from sea to combat China and Russia. 

 

But it could hit a roadblock because a group of House Republicans are joining Senator Tommy Tuberville in trying to force the Defense Department to change its abortion policy. 

 

Lawmakers will have to vote on a number of proposals. One from Congressman Ronny Jackson would bar the Pentagon from spending any money on abortions unless the mother’s life is in danger or the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest. 

 

There’s also an amendment to prevent the Biden Administration from making decisions about where to put military bases, based on the state’s abortion policy. There are also some proposed provisions banning the use of federal funds for gender reassignment surgeries. 

 

Senator Tommy Tuberville has been blocking all military nominations for months to protest the Defense Department’s abortion policy that offers reimbursements for abortions and travel expenses related to the procedure. 

 

Tuberville’s protest has kept the military from filling key positions, including a commandant for the Marine Corps. 

 

These abortion related amendments need 218 votes to be approved in the house. It’s unlikely they’ll pass, and if they did they wouldn’t get through the Senate. But the votes will make the bill’s final passage more complicated, and could impact the number of lawmakers who ultimately vote to approve the full package. Straight from DC, I’m Ray Bogan. 

 

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