House backs defense bill with abortion restriction, setting up Senate showdown

WASHINGTON — The House signed off on an annual defense policy package that includes provisions ending diversity and inclusion programs, prohibiting services for transgender individuals and banning payments to service members for travel to obtain abortions.

Georgia’s delegation split strictly along party lines, with all nine Republicans in favor and all five Democrats opposed.

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s “yes” vote was a reversal from her position Thursday night, when she pledged to oppose the National Defense Authorization Act because her amendments stripping funding and other resources for Ukraine had failed.

The Rome Republican said she changed course after Speaker Kevin McCarthy asked her to serve on the conference committee that will create a compromise between the House version of the bill and the Senate’s, which is not expected to include the abortion provision and other culture war proposals that Democrats oppose.

Greene said she agreed because she wants to help ensure the far-right policies backed by Republicans stay in the bill in the final version, but it also gives her a chance to try again with her proposals regarding Ukraine.

“It gives me an opportunity to be a voice in the room where there usually is not one to say we should not be funding a war in Ukraine,” she said. “That can be a separate funding bill if they want to do that. But it shouldn’t be in a big spending package like this to fund our Department of Defense.”

All but four Democrats voted against the bill, and all but four Republicans voted for it. Greene last year was among the conservatives who opposed the defense bill, mainly because of the money supporting Ukraine following Russia’s invasion.

Several Republicans in Georgia’s delegation celebrated the bill’s passage Friday by pointing out some of the less controversial aspects of the legislation, including a 5.2% pay raise for military service members, increased housing allowances and billions of dollars for construction projects at military installations.

“I was proud to support H.R. 2670, which, among other things, restores the focus of our military, combats aggression from the Chinese Community Party, provides the largest pay raise for service members in over 20 years, and offers a path back to service for military personnel who were wrongfully discharged for failing to take the COVID-19 vaccine,” U.S. Rep. Rick Allen, R-Augusta, said in a news release after the vote. “Additionally, the NDAA secures critical funding for the operations and missions being carried out at Fort Gordon and the Savannah River Site — ensuring our area remains a leader in keeping America safe.”

The House bill also includes language protecting funding for the Combat Readiness Training Center in Savannah. Last year, President Joe Biden attempted to shutter the facility, although Georgia’s delegation successfully fought to restore dollars to keep the doors open.


Fort Gordon Cyber, instructional facility classrooms, $80 million

Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, consolidated communication facility, $64 million

Fort Gordon, Military Housing Privatization Initiative equity investment, $50 million

Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Phase 2 for electrical transmission and distribution improvements, $49.5 million

Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Reserve center, $40 million

Robins Air Force Base, battle management combined operations complex, $35 million

Dobbins Air Reserve Base, security forces facility, $22 million