FederalImmigration & BorderTexas Republicans Split Votes on Defense Bill Including Disputed Items Like Adding Women to the Draft

Republicans from Texas were split on the measure that would fund the military and also require women to register for the draft.
September 24, 2021
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The U.S. House of Representatives gave initial approval to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2022 in a 316 to 113 vote on Thursday evening.

At $768 billion in spending to fund the U.S. military, the proposed legislation would boost defense spending for the next fiscal year above the levels spent last year and requested by President Biden.

Votes among the Republican members of the Texas delegation were split 11 in favor and 12 against. 

Texas Republicans who voted in favor of the bill include:

  • Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX-02)
  • Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX-04)
  • Rep. Jake Ellzey (R-TX-06)
  • Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX-08)
  • Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX-10)
  • Rep. August Pfluger (R-TX-11)
  • Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX-12)
  • Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX-13)
  • Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX-23)
  • Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-TX-24)
  • Rep. John Carter (R-TX-31)

Those who voted against include:

The Texan Tumbler

  • Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX-01)
  • Rep. Van Taylor (R-TX-03)
  • Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX-05)
  • Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX-14)
  • Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX-17)
  • Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX-19)
  • Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX-21)
  • Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX-22)
  • Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX-25)
  • Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX-26)
  • Rep. Michael Cloud (R-TX-27)
  • Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX-36)

Meanwhile, all Democrats in the delegation voted in favor of the bill.

Many Republicans voted against the bill citing some of the progressive policies contained within the bill to fund American defense.

“Despite increasing total funding for extraneous liberal initiatives, the bill cut the number of troops in our armed forces,” said Taylor in a statement. “The NDAA should focus on providing our nation’s servicemembers with the resources they need to protect Americans and our homeland.”

One of the most cited changes that would come as a result of the bill if agreed upon in the Senate would be to require women between the ages of 18 and 26 to be registered for Selective Service in addition to the existing requirement for men of the same age.

The draft has not been used since the Vietnam War, but could still be used in an emergency situation should the need for soldiers beyond those who volunteer arise.

Although the proposed NDAA would require the Secretary of Defense to submit reports to Congress related to Afghanistan — including a report detailing what U.S. assets were destroyed, seized, or abandoned during the botched withdrawal — some Republicans said that the legislation fails to adequately hold the Biden administration accountable for the debacle.

“The NDAA, which is $25 billion over the Administration’s budget proposal, sends Americans’ hard-earned dollars to an Administration that refuses to take accountability for its failures during the withdrawal from Afghanistan,” stated the House Freedom Caucus.

Along with adding women to the draft, the Freedom Caucus also argued that the NDAA would turn the military “into a progressive social experiment” by promoting “Critical Race Theory.”

As approved by the House, the NDAA would require secretaries of military departments to conduct “ongoing training programs regarding human relations, diversity, equity, and inclusion” for everyone in the department.

Such training would include matters related to “racism,” “conscious and unconscious bias,” and “discrimination” on the basis of a litany of things ranging from “religion” to “sexual orientation,” “gender identity,” and “disability, both physical and mental.”

Other criticisms pointed out in a Twitter thread from Roy’s press account include:

  • A “red flag” program as a way to confiscate firearms from military members.
  • Aiming for “any new non-tactical” vehicle purchased by the military to be “electric or zero-emission.”
  • Creating a pilot program in the Navy to offer “plant-based protein options” for soldiers.
  • And requiring the Inspector General of the Department of Defense to “take sexual orientation into account when conducting any review of racial disparity.”

“I support the fundamental purpose of the NDAA to ensure we have well trained service members with all the tools necessary to carry out their mission — but unfortunately it has been hijacked by the radical left,” said Roy in a statement.

“This legislation, backed by both Republican and Democrat leadership, completely loses sight of the NDAA’s core focus to strengthen our national security.”

But for half of the Republicans in Texas’ delegation, those additions were not a dealbreaker in supporting the major military spending bill that was backed by GOP House leadership.

Some members, such as Granger — the ranking member of the powerful Appropriations Committee — and Jackson, touted the benefits the bill will bring Texas.

“[The NDAA] puts American workers first with historic investments in our defense industrial base, including additional Bell V-22 Osprey aircraft and new F-35 Joint Strike Fighters produced locally in Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth facility,” said Granger. “These investments provide not only military muscle for our armed forces but also reflect a long-term commitment to the North Texas economy.”

Granger also noted that the legislation declares the sense of Congress that the ongoing border crisis is a national security disaster.

The NDAA states that “the current level of illegal crossings and trafficking on the Southwest border represents a national security threat,” and that “the failure to address the crisis at the Southwest border introduces significant risk to the people of the United States.”

After the markup session in the House Armed Services Committee, Jackson likewise declared “major victories” for his congressional district stretching across the Texas panhandle.

“Representing our district’s defense interests in Congress is a top priority for me, so I am proud to announce that I led and advocated for many legislative victories that will keep our district at the forefront of the national defense conversation for generations to come,” said Jackson.

One particular way it will benefit the region, he argues, is by continuing to “modernize the U.S. nuclear triad, which is important as every nuclear weapon in the arsenal is assembled at Pantex in Amarillo.”

The legislation must now be considered in the Senate before it can go to Biden’s desk for final approval, and some Republican lawmakers hope that a version more to their liking will be passed in the upper chamber.

“The NDAA should focus on providing our nation’s servicemembers with the resources they need to protect Americans and our homeland,” said Taylor. “I hope the Senate stands strong and that we get an opportunity to vote on a workable NDAA bill.”

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Daniel Friend

Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.