1 of 3 | The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed the annual defense policy bill by a narrow 219 to 210 vote. 'We are not going to back down,' House Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry (pictured, 2021), R-Pa., said Friday about the conservative amendments added to the bill. 'We're not going to give up on the cause that is righteous and we're going to keep fighting for it.' File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
July 14 (UPI) -- The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed the annual defense policy bill by a narrow 219-210 vote, after several conservative amendments on abortion, climate change, and race and gender rights were added to the legislation.
Four Democrats voted in favor of passing the National Defense Authorization Act, while four Republicans cast ballots against it.
The legislation, itself, sets out an $886 billion budget for American military spending.
One amendment adopted Thursday prohibits the Defense Department from funding abortion-related expenses for service members and was sponsored by Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas.
A separate amendment by Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., blocks payments for transgender surgeries and hormone treatments.
Two other Republican-sponsored amendments were added Friday morning before the bill was passed.
One stops federal funds from being used by military service academies to establish quotas on the basis of race or ethnicity in the admission process.
A second Friday amendment blocks the Defense Department from implementing climate change executive orders enacted by President Joe Biden.
The Senate will still need to pass its version of the legislation. The Democratic-controlled upper chamber is currently working on its own bill.
The House and Senate would then need to negotiate a compromise.
Republican House Representatives were steadfast Friday they would not settle.
"We are not going to back down. We're not going to give up on the cause that is righteous and we're going to keep fighting for it," House Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry, R-Pa., said during a Friday news conference.
"The military is not the place for a social experiment. The military needs to be focused on readiness and lethality, and all these other things are distractors from that and harm our national security."
Democrats accused their Republican counterparts of commandeering the defense act to forward their agenda.
"The far right hijacked this, hijacked our national security. And this makes our country less secure, less safe, and it's an insult to all of our women in uniform. So I'm a no, and I think almost all my Democratic colleagues will be a no," Rep. Pat Ryan, D-N.Y., a House Armed Services Committee member, said Friday.