A group of House Republicans are mounting vocal opposition to the National Defense Authorization Act, a massive bill that authorizes the Pentagon’s spending and activities, over a number of its “woke” provisions.
The 2022 NDAA would authorize $768 billion in defense spending for fiscal year 2022, but it would also usher into law a number of new policies on things related to gender and diversity, climate change, and red flag laws.
The opposition has come mostly from the pro-Trump populist wing of the Republican Party. Conservative firebrand Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) has been one of the most vocal.
She tweeted recently: “The NDAA, in it’s current form, would push through a woke military agenda like we’ve never seen before. Our military is supposed to protect our nation, not protect our feelings. Let’s cut the woke bullcrap out and take care of what they need!”
The NDAA, in it's current form, would push through a woke military agenda like we've never seen before.
Our military is supposed to protect our nation, not protect our feelings.
Let's cut the woke bullcrap out and take care of what they need!#NoWayNDAA
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) December 3, 2021
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs (AZ), and caucus members Reps. Michael Cloud (TX), Warren Davidson (OH), and Ralph Norman (SC) also recently voiced their opposition in a recent op-ed, writing:
The proposed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will encourage critical race theory indoctrination and other ‘woke’ policies while reducing our military preparedness.
… Military spending is a constitutionally authorized obligation. But, that obligation should not be diluted by the ‘wokeness’ that has infected the current NDAA.
They urged Republican senators to band together and oppose it.
The bill passed in the House with the help of 135 Republicans and is now up for consideration in the Senate and would need 60 votes to pass, or 10 Republican votes.
“Forty-one Republican senators can stand together against the blinding liberal programs in the NDAA per the Senate rules,” the four congressmen wrote in the December 2 op-ed in The Hill. “Our military will still be adequately funded, but freed from the woke nonsense from the left.”
Among the opposed provisions is the establishment of an “Office of Countering Extremism” within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. Section 529A of the bill would establish the office to further Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s goal to root out “extremists” from the military, which Republican critics argue is aimed at rooting out conservatives.
A group of Senate Republicans led by Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) recently expressed concern about Austin’s counter-extremism efforts targeting service members who voice opposition to “woke, Leftist ideology under the guise of protecting our ‘national security interest.'”
Boebert said in a press statement in September that the office would “target anyone who still believes in standing for the flag in the United States.”
The defense bill also has a number of provisions that impose “diversity and inclusion” reporting requirements on the military and contractors and codify diversity, equity, and inclusion training requirements, and contains a provision that would require women to register for the Selective Service System, also known as the draft.
The bill would provide funding for gender transition surgeries and treatment, and military health care coverage for contraception, including abortifacient drugs such as the RU-86 pill.
The bill also contains a “Red Flag” provision that would allow Military Court Gun Confiscation Orders to “restrain a person from possessing, receiving, or otherwise accessing a firearm” without constitutional due process.
The bill would also would authorize $5 million for “net-zero and resilient energy installations,” and authorize a pilot program on the use of sustainable aviation fuel.
The bill would also ban the deployment of any state’s National Guard across state lines on a mission funded by “non-governmental grant, donation or private source of funding, unless for emergency or disaster relief efforts,” aimed at South Dakota Kristi Noem’s decision to send National Guard troops to the southern border.
The bill would also require a minimum wage for defense contractors of at least $15.00 an hour, which would cost the Pentagon about $3.8 billion over the 2021-2026 period.
It would make the D.C. mayor the commander-in-chief of the D.C. National Guard for non-homeland defense activities, including civil disturbances, instead of the president or his designates.
And it does not prohibit the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility as in recent years.
Boebert said in her September statement:
I love our military. I’m grateful for their service and sacrifice. Our brave service men and women didn’t fight for this liberal woke garbage of an agenda, and I didn’t come to Washington to put a rubber stamp on it either. Unfortunately, Democrats politicized and jeopardized funding for our troops in the NDAA, legislation that has traditionally been very bipartisan.
She also said she opposed signing on to a bill that did nothing to address the failure and incompetence with the Afghanistan withdrawal:
If the Biden regime isn’t going to take any responsibility, and if Nancy Pelosi isn’t going to allow Congress to pursue investigations, and if nobody is going to get fired over the Afghanistan debacle, then I am not going to vote to give the Democrats carte blanche to do that crap all over again.
Boebert said she submitted six amendments to the legislation, but that none were allowed to receive a vote.
Biggs and his colleagues wrote that the bill “perpetuates the woke, CRT indoctrination, funding for transition surgeries, and drafting of women, and lacks accountability for the Afghanistan debacle.” They wrote:
The unconstitutional vax mandates are bad enough, but the Biden administration and some of our military leaders have become missionaries of the left. They are focused on finding white supremacy in the military. They are convinced that our biggest national threat is climate change. Not the Chinese, not North Korea, nor any other of the increasingly bellicose international actors.
They noted that Republicans recently helped Democrats pass the infrastructure bill and urged their colleagues not to let it happen again.
“Republicans now have a second chance to control the NDAA. If Republicans look at the bill in its entirety, not just at the parts that fund our military, they will see the social engineering advocacy by the left,” they wrote.
“If Republicans unitedly oppose the NDAA in this go-around, the Democrats will be unable to pass the bill by themselves,” they wrote. “Taking this bill down is our only opportunity to ‘de-woke’ the NDAA.”