Speaker Kevin McCarthy Pushes Through the NDAA With Four Democrats on Board

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Flanked by Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said to the press scrum on Friday:

I’m sorry to disappoint you, that Republicans continue to keep our promises, and we just [did it] again. Yes, it passed. Now let’s actually get through to what we promised the American public that we’d would do.


The press conference was to announce the House of Representatives’ passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a contentious bill that seeks to remove the DEI, Marxist-leaning, and critical theory measures that have become embedded within the Department of Defense and its military schools and training, affecting the readiness of service members in protecting the country. These woke measures have also diminished morale among the members of the armed services, as well as decimated recruitment.

The GOP-controlled House advanced the annual Pentagon policy bill after days of negotiations on contentious amendments, including the add-on to halt abortion travel payments by the military.

The National Defense Authorization Act squeaked through the House on a 219-210 bipartisan vote. The defense bill is loaded with over 300 amendments, including lightning-rod additions that seek to halt the Pentagon’s abortion policy, gut diversity, equity and inclusion positions and training in the military and stop military benefits from paying for transgender-related medical services.

From a House Armed Services fact sheet, some of the more pronounced language includes,

Banning Critical Race Theory (CRT)

  • Prohibits funding for the teaching of CRT in the military.
  • Prohibits funds for any DoD advisory committee dealing with CRT.
  • Requires DoD to report to Congress on how much time and taxpayer dollars have been wasted on CRT training.

Ending DEI Overreach

  • Repeals the DoD’s unnecessary Chief Diversity Officer.
  • Guts the Pentagon’s DEI bureaucracy by prohibiting the DOD from paying anyone whose job it is to carry out DEI programs more than $92,000 (GS-10 level).
  • Requires the Secretary to assess and validate the need for every position in the DEI bureaucracy. Eliminates funding for the DoD’s politically biased Countering Extremism Working Group.
  • Prohibits DoD from contracting with NewsGuard Technologies or similar advertising firms that blacklist conservative news sources.
  • Prohibits funds for any DoD advisory committee dealing with race, gender identity, sexual orientation, or social justice.

Prohibits Drag Shows

  • Eliminates funding for drag shows, Drag Queen Story Hours, or similar events. Halts the Navy’s promotion of a drag queen as a “Digital Ambassador”.

Protecting Parents Rights

  • Includes a Parents Bill of Rights to ensure parents of children in DoD schools have the right to review curriculum, books, and instructional materials; meet with teachers; and provide consent before any medical exams or screenings by the school.

Preventing a Military Green New Deal

  • Does NOT authorize climate change programs.
  • Blocks DoD from requiring defense contractors to document the impact their weapons systems have on greenhouse gas emissions and submit plans to reduce emissions.
  • Ensures military ranges in the Gulf of Mexico remain open for critical training. Cuts funding for questionable combat vehicle electrification research programs. Prohibits funds for DoD advisory committees dealing with environmental justice.

It’s a significant win for McCarthy’s speakership, as he kept the majority of his caucus in lockstep to approve the bill. Only four Republican members voted against the NDAA: Thomas Massie (Kentucky), Andy Biggs (Arizona), Elijah Crane (Arizona), and Ken Buck (Colorado). In a rare moment of bipartisan solidarity, four House Democrats: Gabe Vasquez (New Mexico), Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (Washington), Jared Golden (Maine), and Danny Davis (Illinois), voted with the Republican caucus.


Speaker McCarthy outlined the policies housed in the bill and how this was a promise made to the American people to get it done in order to ensure America’s readiness and safety.

House Republicans have made a commitment to America that we would fight for a nation that is safe. Under this bill, men and women in uniform who make sacrifices for our nation every day will receive the biggest pay raise in decades. We all know that they deserve it.

Radical programs that are forced on our troops at the expense of readiness are now eliminated. Cutting-edge technology that is essential for the future of this country and to keep freedom around the world in the rise of China and Russia will receive more investment than we’ve watched in the past.

And taxpayers will save more than 40 billion dollars as this bill roots out wasteful spending.

After excoriating Democrats for their inability to vote for policies that they had no problem voting for before he became Speaker, McCarthy concluded:

It’s a good thing that Republicans are in the majority, but it’s more important that we keep our promises. To America, and to our men and women who defend us. And today, that is exactly what we did.

Majority Whip Scalise also said,

Today was an important victory for our men and women in uniform who risk their lives to keep us safe. It was also an important victory for every American in this country who wants to see our military focused on our enemies abroad, and not on Wokeness and all of the indoctrination attempts you’re seeing within the Pentagon. It was a massive rebuke of that far Left ideology.


The bill now heads to the Senate, where the Democrat-controlled body will no doubt attempt to take a scalpel to many of the amendments, particularly those penned by the House Freedom Caucus members. One of the key amendments is the Davidson-Jacobs Amendment, which will block the Department of Defense from purchasing data on private citizens.

Caitriona Fitzgerald, Deputy Director  of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), applauded the vote:

As recently released reports confirm, the government continues to evade constitutional protections by purchasing Americans’ data. This bipartisan amendment—endorsed by EPIC and over forty other organizations—prohibits the Department of Defense from purchasing data protected by the Fourth Amendment, such as location information and internet records. While more work is needed to ensure that all government agencies can’t evade the Fourth Amendment by purchasing data from data brokers, the Davidson-Jacobs amendment is a clear sign that there is bipartisan appetite for strong reform of the warrantless government surveillance ecosystem.

While Speaker McCarthy and the Republican House leadership’s victory lap is warranted, it will be hollow if the Democrat-controlled Senate will be allowed to carve out the amendments, like this one, that matter to the American people and have been a source of contention, compromise, and condemnation. While the Senate Democrats are hobbled with PA Senator Fetterman and CA Senator Feinstein, they are still not without teeth. It would behoove the American people to keep an eye on what occurs as the NDAA comes before the Senate Armed Services Committee and what parts of the bill they seek to preserve, and which ones they seek to gut.




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