AMAC Exclusive – By Shane Harris
The Senate passed the annual National Defense Authorization Act just before adjourning for the weekend last Thursday, sending the behemoth $847 billion bill to Joe Biden’s desk for signature. While large majorities of both parties in the House and the Senate voted in favor of the bill and trumpeted it as a “bipartisan victory,” it nonetheless largely failed to address major problems facing the military and contained wasteful spending for a number of far-left priorities.
Most of the news surrounding this year’s NDAA has centered on a provision rescinding the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, which has led to hundreds of thousands of men and women in uniform losing pay and benefits. Biden and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin have adamantly defended the mandate, despite both moral and health concerns from some military personnel about the vaccine. However, the disagreement is not expected to prevent Biden from signing the bill.
While the removal of the mandate may appear to be a big win for Republicans, Senate Democrats defeated an amendment offered by Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) which would have both reinstated military personnel who were discharged for refusing the vaccine and offered them back pay. First proposed by former President Trump nearly a year ago, many conservatives have been calling for such a provision to be included in the final bill in order to reverse what they viewed as an unconstitutional requirement that forced military members to choose between service to their country and their health freedom.
Other ostensible victories in the legislation also turn out to be rather lackluster upon examination. For example, Democrats and Republicans alike have touted the bill’s 4.6 percent pay raise for members of the military and civilians working for the Department of Defense. But that increase has already been more than offset by inflation, and is likely of little comfort to the 24 percent of military families who already say they are facing food insecurity and an effective pay cut.
One item that did get more than its fair share of funding and attention was Democrats’ climate agenda. The 2023 NDAA includes money to “investigate how to develop renewable and sustainable aviation fuel” and “building code amendments for DOD to consider use of integrated solar roofing,” as well as funding for “important climate research.” In fact, the bill mentions “climate” a total of 27 times.
Left out of the final bill, however, was reform legislation designed to speed up approvals for new energy projects, which West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin attempted to include as an amendment. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer promised Manchin back in July that the Senate would pass permitting reform “before the end of the fiscal year” in exchange for Manchin’s all-important vote on Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan. The end of the fiscal year has long since passed, and it now looks as if permitting reform will have to wait until next year – if it happens at all.
Also missing from the defense spending bill is any real commitment to addressing border security – perhaps the most serious and immediate national security threat currently facing the United States. While the NDAA pays lip service to the issue, calling for a number of “reports” and “strategies,” it includes no new allocations for physical border security measures and even calls for a $75 million cut in border security funding at the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
These policies are not likely to help a military that is struggling to meet its recruiting numbers and has taken a hit in public trust. In total, the Army fell short of its enlistment goals by 25 percent this year, and every other branch has struggled to meet their quotas as well. Just 48 percent of Americans now say they have “a great deal” of trust in the military according to an annual survey conducted by the Reagan Institute. That figure sat at 70 percent as recently as 2018, and was 62 percent in 2020. Well over half of respondents reporting a decline in trust of the military cited “so-called ‘woke’ practices undermining military effectiveness” as a primary reason why.
It may indeed be the case that the NDAA which went to President Biden’s desk was the best possible compromise that conservatives could expect given that Democrats still control both chambers of Congress. But congressional Republicans should not confuse that with a “victory.” When the GOP takes control of the House – and therefore the drafting process for spending legislation like the NDAA – in January, they should prioritize ending the left’s use of military funding as yet another Trojan Horse to advance their non-military policy agenda.
Shane Harris is a writer and political consultant from Southwest Ohio. You can follow him on Twitter @Shane_Harris_.
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Polish a turd. It’s still a turd.
For over 30 years the left has been gutting our law enforcement and our military. They must make them obsolete so as to install their jack booted “enforcers” to keep we the people “in our place.
Anyone who’s been around a few decades, if paying attention has seen the deliberate and with malice weakening of our “justice system”. I believe this started in earnest with the Clinton regime in the early 90’s.
Gary Aldridge was the FBI head of security at the Clinton white house and though the Comrades Clinton tried everything in their book of evil to stop the publishing of his book “Unlimited Access” it was still published. There are copies still available on Amazon. The frightening absence of any security what soever in the White House should have constituted the highest treason. No background checks on the Clintonista’s buddies who wandered around the people’s house freely. It also goes into great length the absolute hatred for anything and everything this nation was built on, by Hillary.
Look at the histories of other nations now under dictatorships … little difference as to what’s happening here in America, maybe so far, not as violent…the New World Order spoken of so lovingly by Bush Sr. in his presidential acceptance speech …I watched that speech. Tho’ at the time I didn’t fully understand it, it still gave me a chill. I’ve found about 4 videos on youtube of him lauding the NWO.
You are absolutely correct on what you said. There is still much more.
You should be scared. But stand STRONG and keep looking for answers.
DEMAND ANSWERS for they FEAR THAT MOST.
My grandson is now serving at the r border. He is there protecting all of us from the influx of illegal immigrants and how sad that our government does nothing to support our troops. All I can say about Steve Coughin’s comment is that our military is lucky not to have him as a member. My husband and 2 of my grandsons have or are serving at this time. God Bless our troops and thank you for serving our country.
I served 20 years + in the United States Marine Corps (1961 to 1981, 5 months and a few days 1991). To the best of my knowledge, winning by breaking things and killing was our objective. Or political leaders done their best and accomplish not allowing us to win! My last 4 years was the last under carter. I thank your family for their service. Maybe you should have read Nick Murphy’s comment below you might have understood the purpose of the United States Military better. IMHO we would loose a war today.
Sir,I served on active duty (Army) in the first all integrated military – Vietnam. My buddies didn’t need congressional lectures to watch one another’s “six”.Teach the civilian inductee how to kill and turn them do what they have been trained for when appropriate.
I hope the Republicans understand what’s going on. But right now it seems like they can’t even plan an exit out of one door room.
I served on active duty in the United States Army from 1977-1983. I can honestly say first hand that the only concern anyone had was whether or not a person could do their job effectively. The purpose of the military is to break things and kill people, period.
Gee?? Is that what all the war aged males coming across our southern border is about?
Yep. The will join the u.s. military, get trained, reap the benefits. It’ll be all self serving with no loyalty or patriotism for our country. Pathetic
Jenny Beth Martin mother of twin’s feed her twin’s warm milk did not toss them in recycle bin for the dump she make great 2024 president
So far GOP leadership in Congress is about as lackluster as I expected it would be, if McConnell and McCarthy were still in so-called “leadership” positions after the midterms. Everything is playing out pretty as as expected. Neither man is known for their tough negotiating skills and no doubt didn’t push very hard to get a better deal. Lets just hope our adversaries don’t choose to attack us with actual weapons, but instead try to defeat us just using politically incorrect pronouns and “mean tweets”. Otherwise, we are in trouble…just as the Democrats want.
If you find this NDAA completely underwhelming as I do, then you’re going to have a real fit over the deal McConnell is currently working with Schumer on to pass what will be an approximately $1.9 Trillion dollar omnibus bill later this week. That will completely take using the power of the purse away from the Republicans for all of fiscal year 2023 and cement a new absurdly higher baseline budget in place forever. That’s like knee-capping your entire team before they even get a chance to set foot on the playing field.
Wonderful: so well written; Thank you yes peace through Strength
Obama sacked most of competent generals and replaced them with “yes men”
Whether official or not, this administration is Obama’s third term.
If generals George S. Patton or Chesty Puller were alive today, they would tell Biden to pound sand.
Right Exactly!!! Lots of sand !!!
This is another Example of The Biden Administration of Defunding the Military.
This is a Stupid Move by Biden!
Reinstating military people with back pay who were unfairly and cruelly let go for no good reason should be a top priority for the Republicans. I wonder how many great military soldiers were thrown out, who will never be coming back to the armed forces? We sorely need them to help protect us from Communist China. Biden has done so much to strengthen China at the expense of weakening the USA from foreign military aggression.
You are absolutely correct.
Other countries military are training to break things and kill people that’s what soldiers do in war. We are training our soldiers on which pronouns to use. Who do you think is going to win that?
The side the Democrats want to win and that isn’t our side.
I’ll say, this bill is not a victory for conservatives! As usual, too much money spent on the wrong things. I still have trust in the military, but not in it’s leaders, and after a few more years of “woke” training, it may be almost useless. At least the vax mandate was revoked, but those people should be reinstated with back pay (if they still want to be part of it).
Is the Russian military “woke”? Some units seem to fight like it is.
the gop is commies just like the dems BOTH parties hate this country and its MILITARY. were are the GOOD guys in the Military to do what is required to save this Republic. imo