President Joe Biden will veto a defense bill passed by Republicans in the House of Representatives if it is presented to him, the White House said on Monday.
Democrats have warned that this will hurt military recruitment because it restricts troops’ access to abortions, restricts transgender care services and bans consideration of diversity issues.
It represents a partisan twist on the National Defense Authorization Act, which is usually routinely passed.
“The administration firmly opposes passage of HR 4366 by the House of Representatives and is providing funds to military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs and related agencies for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2024 and other purposes,” the White House said in a statement.
“If HR 4366 were presented to the President, he would veto it.”
President Joe Biden, seen here leaving the church on Saturday, will veto a defense bill passed by Republicans in the House of Representatives if it is presented to him, the White House announced Monday
The White House also said Biden would veto a farm spending bill and accused House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of failing to meet agreed spending levels during the debt ceiling negotiations.
This comes after the House of Representatives passed the Defense Bill earlier this month by a 219-210 vote to bring about a showdown in the Senate over amendments that included, among other things, banning consideration of diversity, equity and inclusion in military recruitment.
Republicans have introduced several amendments on social issues as part of an effort to ban what they see as “woke” politics from the armed forces.
These included an amendment by Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, prohibiting the Pentagon from funding travel expenses for abortion services.
So does a ban that would prevent military health care providers from paying for sex-reassignment surgeries.
The White House signaled its intention last week.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby sharply defended himself when asked whether access to abortion was essential to military preparedness.
“I’m really glad you asked that question,” said Kirby, a Navy admiral.
“I’m really glad you asked that question,” Kirby, who is a Navy admiral, replied when asked if the policy was necessary for military readiness
He said that purely volunteer service was part of the contract between military leaders and the men and women who signed up for the service.
“Whether it’s ensuring that one in five female military personnel or female family members can count on the type of health care and reproductive care that they specifically need,” he said during the White House briefing, “that is a fundamental sacred obligation of military leaders across the river.”
Across the Potomac in Virginia, the Pentagon has often been the target of conservatives because it builds a diverse military force that reflects the nation.
Kirby pointed out that one in five military personnel is now female
Kirby said staff can’t choose where they serve, which means, for example, they can be sent to a place like Alabama, where abortion has been restricted since the Supreme Court scrapped the Roe v Wade protection.
‘How are you? Do you say no and go?’ he asked.
“Well, some people might choose to. And what does that mean?
“That means we’re losing talent, important talent.”
Four Democrats voted in favor of the bill – Rep. Don Davis, NC, Jared Golden, Maine, Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, Washington, and Rep. Gabriel Vazquez, NM. Four Republicans — Ken Buck, Andy Biggs, Eli Crane and Thomas Massive — voted against.