Protect Our Defenders News Blog


***STATEMENT*** Protect Our Defenders Challenges Partisan House Passage of Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act

July 14, 2023
Protect Our Defenders Challenges Partisan House Passage of Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act

POD urges Senate to reject FY24 NDAA in face of amendments diminishing DEI, health and gender-affirming care for servicemembers and families

Washington, DC – Today, the House passed H.R. 2670, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24), with historic partisanship as GOP leaders added amendments to limit servicemembers’ health care, equity, inclusion and gender-affirming protections. The NDAA passed along party lines, 219-210, in contrast to the annual bill’s history of bipartisan support to further the needs of national security, national defense, servicemembers, and their families.

Protect Our Defenders (POD) joins the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), as well as other Democratic House leaders in urging the Senate to reject this bill and work toward bipartisan amendments ahead of its September 30 deadline.

Conservative amendments to FY24 NDAA would prohibit the use of funds to implement the Department of Defense’s current policy to support servicemembers and family traveling for reproductive health care. The House NDAA would also eliminate diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) personnel as well as diminish federal funding of DEI initiatives across all branches. This directly contradicts POD’s most recent racial disparities report that found consistent attempts by the Air Force to cover up significant racial disparities, including the fact that Black airmen were disciplined at twice the rate of their white counterparts. Further, conservative “culture war” stipulations erode the military’s ability to recruit and retain servicemembers of all backgrounds.

Protect Our Defenders Senior Vice President, Josh Connolly, former Chief of Staff for Rep. Jackie Speier (former Chairwoman of the Military Personnel Subcommittee on the House Armed Services Committee), released the following statement:

“The NDAA has a decades-long history of bipartisan support and compromise across the aisle as all are committed to national security and defense as well as honoring and supporting those who give the most to this county – servicemembers and their families.

“Today, GOP House leaders have sacrificed this tradition of progress and unity at the detriment of those who have served and are serving, for the sake of partisan, cultural politics that would advance ignorance, racism and misogyny within the armed forces. The House NDAA as-is will exacerbate the military’s ongoing retention and recruitment crisis, ultimately weakening our national defense.

“Progress has been made in recent years to further protections for all servicemembers of all races, backgrounds, sexes and genders. The NDAA in its current form would curtail this progress and the continued work that must be done. We urge the Senate to reject it.”