House Seeks to Overturn Biden Abortion Policy, Creating More Division

( – Every year, Congress has to vote on the budget and contingencies for the annual defense policy bill. This year, the massive $895.3 billion bill came out of the Armed Services Committee with full bipartisan support, but House GOP members weren’t completely satisfied with its contents. Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-TX) added an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would overturn a longstanding Pentagon policy.

The amendment would reverse the policy of the Pentagon reimbursing troops who travel to receive reproductive care, including abortions. That provision had been in place since the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade case. Lawmakers voted 214-207 to adopt it. Two Republicans — Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA) and John Duarte (CA) — voted against it while one Democrat voted in favor. There were also provisions that would eliminate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) positions in the Pentagon and limit access to transgender medical care.

Then, on Friday, June 14, the House voted 217-199 to pass the bill. However, now its fate rests in the hands of the Senate. The upper chamber holds a Democratic majority and is likely to remove those provisions from the bill before final authorization. It’s reminiscent of how things played out last year. In 2023, Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-LA) fought for the bill’s passage with the travel reimbursement policy removed by blocking hundreds of appointments. However, he proved unsuccessful as that contingency was stripped from the one that eventually became law.

The Senate Armed Forces Committee’s version of the bill is likely to face its own challenges. Right now, it’s about $25 billion more than the House’s version and exceeds the spending caps put in place by Congress. The chairman, Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), voted against it because of this. However, it’s not clear when Senate Majority Leader Chuch Schumer (D-NY) plans to bring it to the floor for a vote.

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