‘Small group’ of Republicans behind NDAA amendments

U.S. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan speaks at a press briefing at the White House on Dec. 12, 2022.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

A “small group” of House Republicans have “essentially created a trap” by loading the National Defense Authorization Act with a wide array of domestic-focused amendments, U.S. national security advisor Jake Sullivan said Sunday.

“This legislation is never getting to the president’s desk,” Sullivan said in a Sunday appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “This should be an area where politics stops and national security starts.”

Sullivan was referring to myriad amendments put forward by House Republicans. Those include efforts that would end various diversity initiatives within the Defense Department, would limit active-duty transgender servicemembers from accessing gender-affirming care, and perhaps most controversially, would prevent the Defense Department from reimbursing or paying for abortion-related expenses for active-duty servicemembers.

“What’s real is the necessary capabilities, technologies and fundamental social support for our troops and their families. That’s what this all should have been focused on, not these domestic, political issues,” Sullivan said on ABC’s “This Week.”

But GOP leaders have given their tacit approval to the amendments, making Sullivan’s characterization more nebulous.

The NDAA is the omnibus U.S. bill that funds the Department of Defense and is widely considered to be one of the most critical pieces of legislation. The bill is now headed to the Senate, where Democratic senators will likely act to remove many of those most controversial amendments.

“In the end, I don’t believe it will succeed because I believe wisdom will prevail,” Sullivan said.


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