Senate passes defense policy bill void of most GOP culture-war demands
The Senate passed a 2021 defense policy bill on Tuesday containing none of the GOP’s controversial social agenda items aimed at tackling the culture wars.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which passed 84-13, omitted divisive language that has prevented the bill’s passage in recent years, such as the prohibition of transgender service members or limiting military funding for base-level schools from teaching the 1619 Project curriculum.
Republicans, including Senate Armed Services Chairman Jim Inhofe, agreed to drop those provisions in exchange for Democrats dropping their demands for renaming military bases named for Confederate figures.
Lawmakers argued that the defense bill should solely focus on national defense and not become a vehicle for partisan debates.
“Millions of people around the world rely on our military for protection, and while we often have disagreements on policy, we must come together to support our men and women in uniform,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “The NDAA that passed on the Senate floor today does that.”
The House has yet to pass its version of the NDAA, but if it does, the two sides will have to negotiate in a conference committee to work out final passage of the bill.