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House faces vote on NDAA after GOP changes on social issues

Washington — The House is set to vote Friday on the annual defense policy bill, which faces an uncertain future after Republicans pushed through a series of conservative policy amendments on abortion, diversity, equity and inclusion programs and gender transition procedures.
The National Defense Authorization Act, which typically earns bipartisan support and has passed each year for more than six decades, faces sharp opposition from congressional Democrats who have accused their GOP colleagues of using the package as a vehicle to push their conservative policy agenda.
"Extreme MAGA Republicans have chosen to hijack the historically bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act to continue attacking reproductive freedom and jamming their right-wing ideology down the throats of the American people,"  House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Democratic whip Katherine Clark and caucus chair Pete Aguilar said in a statement. "House Republicans have turned what should be a meaningful investment in our men and women in uniform into an extreme and reckless legislative joyride."
The Democratic leaders said they intend to vote against the bill. The top Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee, which cleared the defense bill with overwhelming bipartisan support last month, also said they plan to oppose the measure following the changes adopted by Republicans on the House floor.
"What was once an example of compromise and functioning government has become an ode to bigotry and ignorance," they said in a joint statement.
Passage of the bill amid the broad Democratic pushback will pose a crucial test for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who can only afford to lose four GOP votes in order for the plan to clear the lower chamber. Even if it passes the House, the defense package is dead-on-arrival in the Senate given the GOP's changes. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said this week the upper chamber will take up its own version of the defense policy plan, setting up more partisan wrangling over the measure as the House and Senate will need to reconcile their two bills.
The $886 billion defense package, which authorizes funding and sets the policy for the Defense Department, includes a 5.2% pay raise for service members and measures addressing China and Russia. 
The House blocked by wide margins a series of proposed changes involving U.S. assistance to Ukraine, including a proposal from GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to stop cluster munitions from going to Ukraine and an amendment from Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida to prohibit security assistance to the country as it continues to fight against Russia.
But on conservative social policy issues, Republicans won the changes they sought, albeit narrowly. Now included in the defense package is a provision prohibiting the Defense Department from paying or reimbursing expenses related to abortion services — a policy implemented by the Pentagon after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year. Sen. Tommy Tuberville, an Alabama Republican, has been holding up military promotions and nominations over the policy.
An amendment denying healthcare coverage for sex reassignment surgeries and hormone treatments for transgender service members was passed narrowly, as was a measure eliminating the Pentagon's offices of diversity, equity and inclusion, and their personnel.
A proposal from GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado barring a Defense Department agency that operates its schools from buying books that contain "pornographic material" or espouse "radical gender ideology" will also be attached to the defense policy bill.
Rep. Chip Roy, a Republican from Texas, expressed confidence the defense bill will pass the House and predicted "overwhelming support" from GOP lawmakers.
"We're moving DOD back to its core focus," he told reporters Thursday. "I think there's a pretty good overwhelming amount of support among Republicans to do that."