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Freedom Caucus Just Lost EVERYTHING

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The House, which is controlled by the Republicans, approved a defense policy package worth $886 billion on Thursday, notwithstanding the elimination of several conservative proposals that had been deliberated with the Senate.

Presently, the National Defense Authorization Act has the requisite signature of President Joe Biden, thereby enacting defense policy legislation for the 63rd year in a row.

The annual policy bill was approved by a vote of 310–118, notwithstanding obstruction from conservatives caused by a provisional expansion of federal surveillance authority and the lack of stringent regulations concerning abortion, transgender soldiers, and military diversity.

By conducting the bill’s approval through an expedited procedure, Speaker Mike Johnson circumvented the need for procedural votes that have previously stifled other legislation in the narrow Republican majority. However, the strategy required a two-thirds majority, which meant that the defense bill could have been ruined by significant opposition.

The final defense measure was ultimately opposed by 73 Republicans and 45 Democrats. Despite forming a minority, Democrats contributed a greater number of ballots in favor of the law than Republicans did.

Despite the potential bipartisan support for the compromise, Johnson, who is already facing criticism from the extreme fringe of the Republican Party on various issues, might encounter additional challenges as a consequence of it.

After congressional leaders incorporated a four-month extension of surveillance capabilities that target the communications of foreigners, hardliners opposed the plan. At the helm of these extremists stood the conservative House Freedom Caucus. The power granted by Section 702 is set to expire by the conclusion of the present year. Johnson has provided a justification for the action, contending that it was necessary to purchase legislators time prior to their consenting to a program modification.

A number of members on the extreme right were similarly enraged by the apparent scarcity of Republican victories in the final agreement, considering that House Republicans had just passed their own package in July, which was replete with conservative provisions. Negotiators have faced criticism for abandoning House-approved measures that would have prohibited drag performances on military bases, halted the Pentagon’s abortion travel policy, and prohibited coverage of gender-affirming medical care for transgender personnel.

Scott Perry, chairman of the Freedom Caucus and a Republican, criticized the final accord prior to the vote, calling it “basically the Senate bill with a couple of crumbs in it.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) further stated, “Only in Washington must we bring a bill to the floor so that we are able to militarily confront China while at the same time embracing the policies that make the United States more like China.”

Chip Roy (R-Texas), a member of the Freedom Caucus and an opponent of the measure and the extension of monitoring, proposed adjourning the House before the final vote. The House readily rejected the proposal.

Even though the policies of the Biden administration divert the military’s attention from its primary mission of war, leading Republicans assert that the package still contains significant victories for conservative perspectives. The measures encompass restrictions on funding critical race theory promotion, limitations on compensation and employment for personnel engaged in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives at the Pentagon, and prohibitions on the display of unapproved flags, including the Pride Flag, on military installations.

“I’ll be the first to admit I’m disappointed we didn’t get all the priorities we wanted,” House Armed Services Chair Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) said during floor debate. “But you know what? The Senate is pretty disappointed they didn’t get the priorities they wanted either.

“It takes compromise to move legislation in a divided government, and this bill is a good compromise,” he said. “It’s laser-focused on deterring our adversaries, especially China.” CONTINUE READING…

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