Legislators are dropping the proposal to include women in the bill as the Defense Bill’s headaches increase
It’s also likely to upset Democrats who are already nervous about what might not make the cut. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are threatening to reject the bill in the House of Representatives this week if it does not include a major overhaul of the way the military prosecutes crime and provisions to combat extremism within the ranks.
The Defense Act, which has been law every year for six decades, could also be a tool for democratic leaders to address the impending debt ceiling. However, the linking of the military policy bill to the federal credit limit or other unrelated issues may jeopardize the GOP’s support for the legislation.
Typically, provisions passed in both houses are almost guaranteed to become law in the final bill ironed out by the legislature. The extension of conscription is one of the rare exceptions, but it may have been sacrificed to secure other provisions of the bill.
One of those who knew about the move said the provision had been scrapped as a compromise in order for Republicans to accept reforms to the military justice system.
Conservative Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Who opposed the bill on the Armed Services Committee on account of its enlargement, pushed for an amendment to remove the provision from Senate law. Although the Democrats were ready to vote for Hawley, an impasse in the amendments forced the Senate to halt efforts to amend and pass its own version of the bill.
Hawley wrote on Twitter Monday that he “will continue to insist on a Senate vote to remove the provision” if the provision is retained in the final bill.
The MP Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), A social conservative who speaks out against the registration of women, celebrated her removal from the law. She criticized the move as “imposing a bright ideology on our troops rather than meeting the current needs of our military”.
“Women are not pawns in a political game. They are doctors, lawyers, engineers and already valuable members of our purely voluntary troops,” said Hartzler. “I applaud the deletion of this unnecessary provision and I am grateful that reasonable minds have come together to join me in resisting these efforts.”
Calls to expand the draft beyond men have grown lately, especially after the Pentagon opened all combat roles to women in 2015. An 11-person independent commission that reviewed the draft also supported the change in its final report to Congress last year.
Proponents of curbing the president’s war powers also fell short in the Defense Act.
U.S. Senate Chairman Jack Reed (DR.I.) said Monday the bill will not contain permits waivers for the 2002 Iraq War or the 1991 Gulf War. The Senate tried to get a vote on the bipartisan repeal but failed but can still treat the issue as separate legislation.
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer promised a vote on the warring forces this year, but time is running out for the Senate to vote on the measure proposed by Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) And Todd Young (R-Ind.) .
Democratic leaders meanwhile ponder whether to link the defense law to efforts to resolve the debt ceiling.
It’s a risky endeavor as Republicans could jump over debt with the NDAA. GOP lawmakers have been reluctant to support efforts to increase the country’s credit limit with Democrats in charge of the House, Senate, and White House.
Senate GOP leaders poured largely cold water on the debt defense move on Monday.
Andrew Desiderio contributed to this report.