President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, has vowed to block the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) because he claims that “extreme Republicans” have mixed “domestic social debates” with the bill.
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has added several amendments to the $886 billion NDAA that have prompted outrage from Democrats and the Biden administration — including a ban on taxpayer-funded interstate travel for military members to obtain an abortion if they are stationed in a state with restrictions or bans on the procedure. The NDAA passed with a vote of 219-210, with four Democrats voting in favor and four Republicans voting against the bill because they did not believe it was strong enough.
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) July 14, 2023
Other Republican amendments to the annual NDAA include the establishment of an inspector general to oversee aid to Ukraine, preventing taxpayer dollars from being spent to establish race-based quotas in military service academies, and stopping the Pentagon from using taxpayer dollars to provide transgender treatments and surgeries to the growing number of so-called “transgender” service members.
During his appearance on the Sunday broadcast of CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sullivan attacked the Republicans for adding these amendments — pointing out that the bill is never going to be signed by Biden in its current form, nor will it pass in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
The conversation began with a question from CNN anchor Jake Tapper, who asked: “This national defense bill would eliminate funding for service members, travel to states where abortion is legal, block coverage for transgender health procedures and eliminate military diversity offices. Would President Biden veto this legislation as is?”
“Well, this legislation is never getting to the president’s desk,” Sullivan responded. “Because what you have seen from an extreme group of Republicans is to put forward a set of amendments that try to mix domestic social debates with the needs, the security needs of our nation.”
Despite Sullivan’s attacks on Republican amendments, this is not the first time that “domestic social debates” have been included in the NDAA. For example, during the lame-duck session of Congress in December 2022, Democrats attempted and briefly succeeded at including the highly controversial Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) in the NDAA — which would have created a media cartel that empowered mainstream media outlets and severely hindered the progress of independent and alternative media sources.
Sullivan went on to claim in the CNN interview that the NDAA will be revised by the Democrat-controlled Senate to create a “broad bipartisan bill.”
“At the end of the day, this Defense Authorization Act, Jake, from my perspective, is really about a bipartisan exercise in defending America — defending Americans’ national security,” the national security adviser claimed. “And historically, year over year you have seen the Defense Authorization Act pass with overwhelmingly bipartisan majorities. We should not walk away from that.”
“This should be an area where politics stops and national security starts,” Sullivan added. “We believe at the end of the day, after the Senate has done its work and come back together with the House we will end up in a place where there is a broad bipartisan bill that can go to the president’s desk that he can sign. That is what is necessary for our men and women in uniform and to keep faith with the American people, our fundamental duty to keep them safe.”
"This legislation is never getting to the president's desk."
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan says a sweeping defense spending bill might not reach President Biden after Republicans added amendments addressing controversial social issues. @CNNSotu #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/DKpYSLqXmw
— CNN (@CNN) July 16, 2023