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Senate and House to Negotiate Military Spending Budget, Focus on Diversity Initiatives Curtailed

Lawmakers from both the Democratic and Republican parties are set to engage in negotiations to determine the military spending budget for the upcoming fiscal year. This budget, also referred to as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), will be discussed during a formal House-Senate conference taking place this week.

Senator Roger Wicker, a Republican and the ranking member on the Armed Services Committee, worked to ensure that the conference was scheduled before the Thanksgiving recess in order to prioritize this important matter. The conference is scheduled to convene on Wednesday, according to the Senate schedule.

Credit: DepositPhotos

Key negotiators for the NDAA include Senator Wicker, Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Representative Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), and Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), according to a Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) aide.

In a statement given to Fox News Digital, Senator Wicker expressed that there are multiple aspects of the NDAA that require attention and improvement. He emphasized that progress is being made in addressing these issues.

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The Senate had previously passed its version of the annual military defense bill with bipartisan support in July. This bill authorized $886 billion in funding for the next year to strengthen national defense.

The Senate’s bill included a 5.2% pay increase for military personnel and allocated $9.1 billion towards enhancing competitiveness with China, advancements in military drone technology, and $300 million in aid to Ukraine. Notably, the Senate’s bill did not touch upon the topics of abortion and transgender services.

However, it did recognize concerns raised by Republicans who believe that progressive policies have gained excessive influence within the Pentagon. As a result, Senate Republicans were successful in including provisions in the bill that prevent the mandatory use of preferred pronouns in official correspondence and implementing a potential hiring freeze on “new diversity, equity, and inclusion positions.”

Credit: DepositPhotos

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The bill states, “Military readiness depends on the guarantee of equal opportunity, without the promise of an equal outcome, because warfare is a competitive endeavor and the nation’s enemies must know that the United States Armed Forces is led by the best, brightest, and bravest Americans.”

It further argues that critical race theory goes against the principles of a merit-based military, which has been serving the country with distinction for the past 50 years.

Just before the Senate passed its bill, the House had approved its version, incorporating several Republican amendments aimed at altering the Pentagon’s abortion policy for service members seeking procedures out of state and limiting transgender-affirming treatments.

President Joe Biden has previously stated that he would not sign a bill that is heavily influenced by hardline Republican priorities, such as what is contained in the House’s version of the NDAA.

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