Lawmakers drop proposal to add women to bill as defense bill headaches rise


It is also likely to upset Democrats who are already on the alert for what might not do the trick. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus threaten to oppose the bill in the House this week if it does not include a major overhaul of how the military prosecutes crimes as well as provisions to counter extremism in the ranks.

The defense bill, which has come into law every year for six decades, may also become a way for Democratic leaders to tackle the looming debt limit. Tying the military policy bill to the federal borrowing limit, or other unrelated matters, may, however, undermine the GOP’s support for the legislation.

Typically, provisions passed in both chambers are almost guaranteed to become law in the final bill that lawmakers smooth out. The expansion of the military project is one of the few exceptions, but may have been sacrificed to secure other provisions of the bill.

One of those familiar with the ruling said the provision was removed as a compromise so Republicans would agree to reforms to the military justice system.

The decision to include women in the project was opposed by senior Republicans in the House and Senate armed services, Rep. Mike rogers and sen. Jim inhofe.

Conservative Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Who opposed the bill in the Armed Services Committee on Expansion, called for an amendment to remove the bill’s provision from the Senate. Although Democrats were prepared to give Hawley the vote, a deadlock over the amendments forced the Senate to abandon its efforts to amend and pass its own version of the bill.

Hawley wrote on Twitter Monday that, if the provision remains in the final bill, he “will continue to insist on a Senate vote to remove the provision.”

Representative Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), A social conservative who opposes the requirement for women to register, celebrated her withdrawal from the bill. She criticized the move as “imposing a lively ideology on our troops rather than meeting the current needs of our army.”

“Women are not chess pieces in a political game. They are doctors, lawyers, engineers and already valuable members of our all-volunteer force,” Hartzler said. “I applaud the removal of this unnecessary provision and am grateful to see reasonable minds join me in resisting this effort.”

Calls to expand the project beyond men have mushroomed recently, especially after the Pentagon opened up all combat roles to women in 2015. An 11-member independent commission that reviewed the project also supported the change. last year in its final report to Congress.

Supporters of limiting presidential war powers have also failed in the defense bill.

Senate Armed Forces Chairman Jack Reed (DR.I.) said on Monday that the bill would not include the repeal of authorizations for the 2002 Iraq War or 1991 Gulf War. The Senate tried, unsuccessfully, to get a vote on the bipartisan repeals, but may still reconsider the issue as stand-alone legislation.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has pledged a vote on war powers on the ground this year, but time is running out for the Senate to hold a vote on the measure, offered by the Senses. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) And Todd Young (R-Ind.).

Democratic leaders, meanwhile, are considering whether to tie the defense bill to efforts to lower the debt ceiling.

It’s a risky proposition, as Republicans could jump ship on NDAA above the debt limit. GOP lawmakers have been reluctant to back efforts to increase the country’s borrowing limit with Democrats in charge of the House, Senate and White House.

GOP Senate leaders largely poured cold water on the debt defense gamble on Monday.

Andrew Desiderio contributed to this report.


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