Every year, Congress passes the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a bill that governs policies and funding for federal defense agencies. The bill recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives and is on track for enactment before the end of the year. In a perfect world, the defense bill only focuses on military readiness and fortifying national security. Unfortunately, legislators try to use such an important bill as a vehicle for their non-defense-related pet priorities.
At Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC), our main job is to be the sticky fly trap for those pet—or perhaps “pest”—priorities. Fortunately, as of this week, our sticky paper has caught the major vermin. We gave decision-makers clear, achievable goals – stop women in the draft, no bankrolling Big Marijuana, and keep out woke data collection mandates. Your activism and our direct communications with staff and legislators made it possible to kick out these bad provisions from the NDAA.
Stop Women in the Draft
- This year, we once more combatted the existential threat of women in the draft. For several years now, certain legislators—Democrat and Republican—have tried to expand the Selective Service to include women. Thankfully, families and advocates batted off this latest attempt to draft our daughters. Leaders like Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) and his colleagues staked their ground early on by demanding a vote to amend the bill if it included women in the draft. NDAA bill negotiators Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Alabama) listened to these legislators and constituents and ensured no Selective Service expansion.
- We are grateful for the women who volunteer to serve, which includes daughters and mothers at CWA. We also pray towards a world in which we never need the draft. But it is contrary to reason and morals to force women—who would be 18-25—into the draft. Doing so takes away the only reason for a country to fight in the first place: to defend the family at home. If everyone is on the frontlines, the only thing being protected is government for its own sake, and this is antithetical to the proper role of government. The government exists to protect us and not the other way around.
Bankrolling Big Marijuana
- Besides stopping women in the draft, activists successfully intercepted a drug deal to include the unrelated, unsafe “SAFE Banking Act” into the annual defense bill. Law enforcement input was the nail in the coffin. First, the National Sheriffs’ Association gave legislators a grave warning of the harm that the Unsafe Act would bring. The Sheriffs’ Association shared that amid the rising crime wave, its members are seeing a form of THC-induced psychosis when booking criminal defendants. Second, the Department of Justice provided an assessment that law enforcement is in no way prepared to handle the influx of money laundering likely to come from the Unsafe Act’s enactment.
- The only thing the Unsafe Act achieves is legitimizing the marijuana industry, enabling criminal behavior. It gives marijuana businesses access to the federal banking system, and it grants access with no regulation or guidance for the financial and law enforcement industries. Enactment only exposes the economy to money laundering, and there will be little to show for the benefits proponents proclaim.
Woke Data Collection Mandate
- Finally, negotiators said “no thanks” to woke data collection efforts, which have been kicked out of the bill. These efforts seek to inoculate “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” into as many areas of federal law as possible. This time, it was mandates on data collection of veterans and small business loans from the federal government. However, there is no limit to the ways in which the Left will try to include radical gender ideology in federal law.
- It is worth noting that these provisions are but a snapshot of the unrelated riders that legislators often try to attach to the annual defense bill. Most bills “die” before they ever reach the level of consideration by a congressional committee. Some of these bills are great ideas and worthy of merit. But that is no excuse to cut corners—or as we say in the legislative world—circumvent “regular order.” This practice of cutting corners makes the NDAA more controversial than it needs to be. National security is critical, and no pet project, much less one fueled by leftist ideology, should dilute that goal.
Making our opposition loud and clear from the beginning helped focus this bill on national security. It is only with raising our voices and hard work that we have a shot at keeping out advances by the Left.