Approval of Annual Defense Bill Is a Victory for House Hardliners

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy speaks to reporters during a news conference after the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act Friday. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The House of Representatives approved its mammoth annual defense policy bill Friday morning along narrow bipartisan lines, 219-210. Four Republicans voted against the $886 billion bill and four Democrats supported it.

Final passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which sets Pentagon policy for the fiscal year and sets pay for U.S. military personnel, came after a marathon series of tough votes on polarizing amendments Thursday that lasted into Friday morning. Conservatives in the party won key victories Thursday, rescinding Pentagon policies of covering abortion travel and transgender medical procedures for service members, as well as eliminating the Pentagon’s diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and their staff.

Other amendments hardline Republicans fought for, such as rolling back aid to Ukraine, failed along bipartisan lines. (You can read more about the 80 amendments the House considered Thursday here.)

Democratic leadership was so confident most of their members wouldn’t support the bill they didn’t bother whipping against the final vote, according to Politico, and those who did defect were from battleground districts. 

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