GOP Defense Bill Stripped of Anti-LGBTQ+ and Anti-Abortion Measures

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12/10/2023

The National Defense Authorization Act for 2024, encompassing an $886 billion defense policy, has marked a pivotal moment in Congress, particularly regarding LGBTQ-related issues, as most of Republicans’ anti-LGBTQ+ measures were removed from the bill. After months of intense negotiations between the House Republicans and Senate Democrats, the bill’s final form discards several controversial amendments initially championed by conservative lawmakers. These amendments included a ban on the coverage of transition surgeries and hormone treatments for transgender troops and a severe curtailing of diversity programs. Despite the removal of direct anti-LGBTQ+ amendments, the NDAA retained some conservative victories. These include a ban on endorsing critical race theory in the military, a salary cap, and a hiring freeze for Pentagon employees working on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Additionally, language encouraging the service branches to allow the reenlistment of troops discharged solely for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine was included.

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