China, Abortion and LGBTQ Issues Spark Debate Over US Defense Spending Bill

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Geopolitics is redrawing trade and shipping fleets. (Photo: Shutterstock/Printextar)

On Friday U.S. House of Representatives passed the fiscal 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a bill that sets policy for the Department of Defense and authorizes $886 billion in spending. The vote was largely along party lines, with Republicans adding culturally conservative amendments. 

The bill includes a pay raise for military members and initiatives to counter China. The Biden administration and Republican lawmakers remain at odds about several China-related provisions in the NDAA).¬†Democrats warned that most of them would not support the NDAA due to the inclusion of controversial amendments, such as reversing the Defense Department’s policy on reimbursing abortion-related travel expenses and prohibiting the Pentagon from paying for gender-affirming surgeries and hormone treatment.

The bill’s fate remains uncertain as it now moves to the Senate for debate, where Democrats hold a narrow majority. The House and Senate will need to negotiate a compromise before the bill can become law.

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