The White House announced Monday that President Joe Biden will veto a defense bill passed by House Republicans if he introduces it.
Democrats have warned that it would hurt military recruitment because it would limit access to abortion for soldiers, limit transgender care services and prohibit consideration of diversity issues.
It marks a partisan turn for the National Defense Authorization Act, which is usually passed as a matter of routine.
“The administration strongly opposes House passage of HR 4366 for military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2024,” the White House said in a statement.
‘If the president had been presented with HR 4366, he would have vetoed it.’
President Joe Biden, seen leaving church on Saturday, will veto a defense bill passed by House Republicans if he introduces it, the White House announced Monday.
The White House also said Biden would veto an agriculture spending bill, accusing House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of refusing to reach spending levels agreed upon during debt ceiling negotiations.
It comes after the House earlier this month passed a defense bill 219 to 210 to set up a showdown in the Senate over amendments that included a ban on military recruitment from considering diversity, equity and inclusion.
Republicans have included several amendments on social issues as part of their efforts to purge what they see as ‘weak’ policies from the armed services.
It includes an amendment by Rep. Ronnie Jackson, R-Texas, to prohibit the Pentagon from helping pay for travel for abortion services.
So did a ban that would have prohibited military health care from paying for gender reassignment surgery.
The White House signaled its intentions last week.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby offered an explosive defense when asked whether access to abortion was essential to military readiness.
“I’m really glad you asked that question,” said Kirby, who is a Navy admiral.
‘I’m really glad you asked that question,’ said Kirby, who is a Navy admiral, in response to a question about whether the policy was necessary for military preparedness.
He said that for all-volunteer service, it is part of the agreement between military leaders and the men and women who sign up to serve.
‘Whether it’s about female members, one in five, or female family members specifically being able to rely on the kind of health care and reproductive care,’ she said during a White House briefing, ‘this is a fundamental sacred obligation of military leaders across the river.’
The Pentagon, across the Potomac in Virginia, has often been a target of conservatives because it produces a variety of combat forces that reflect the nation.
Kirby noted that one in five military personnel is now female
Kirby said workers didn’t get to choose where they served, meaning, for example, they could be sent to places like Alabama where abortion has been restricted since the Supreme Court threw out Roe v. Wade protections.
‘What do you do? Why don’t you go out?’ he asked.
‘Well, some people might decide to do that. And what does that mean?
‘That means we lose talent, important talent.’
Four Democrats voted for the bill – Reps. Don Davis, NC, Jared Golden, Maine, Mary Glusenkamp Perez, Wash., and Rep. Gabriel Vazquez, N.M. Four Republicans – Ken Buck, Andy Biggs, Eli Crane and Thomas Massive – voted against.
Regarding a separate agriculture and health spending bill that Biden also threatens to veto, the White House said the legislation includes provisions that would have “devastating consequences” such as cutting access to reproductive health care, cutting climate change initiatives and reducing protections for the LGBT community.
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