WASHINGTON, D.C. — United States Reps. Seth Moulton and Katherine Clark voted against the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 on Friday due to partisan amendments submitted by Republicans in the House of Representatives.
According to a statement released by Moulton, whose district covers Lynn, Saugus, Swampscott, Nahant, Marblehead, Peabody, and Lynnfield, he voted in favor of the NDAA every year since being elected to Congress in 2014 — until now.
“Sadly, the compromise bill passed by the House Armed Services Committee last month, on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis, has been hijacked by extremist Republicans who seem to care more about politics than national security,” Moulton, who is a member of the committee, said in the statement.
The bill, which puts $886 billion toward national-defense programs, now contains what Moulton called “extremist amendments” from House Republicans.
One of the amendments was sponsored by Rep. Ronny Jackson, a Republican from Texas, and would prohibit the secretary of defense from paying or reimbursing abortion-related expenses, according to the House Armed Services Committee.
Rep. Matt Rosendale, a Republican from Montana, sponsored another amendment that would prohibit the coverage and furnishing of gender-affirming surgeries and gender hormone treatments for transgender individuals.
“The now partisan Republican bill attacks reproductive rights and access to basic health care for women in uniform,” Moulton’s statement read.
Rep. Eric Burlison, a Republican from Missouri, sponsored an amendment that would prohibit the Department of Defense from establishing new diversity, equity, and inclusion administrator positions.
“It attacks DOD’s efforts to foster a more diverse and cohesive force – things that improve teamwork, morale, and mission effectiveness,” Moulton’s statement read.
Clark, whose district includes Revere, gave a speech directed toward Republican representatives on the floor of the House Thursday regarding the anti-abortion amendment.
“This year the MAGA majority is using our national defense bill to get one step closer to the only thing they really care about, a nationwide abortion ban,” Clark, the minority whip, said.
The updated NDAA was passed by the House Friday morning. Both Clark and Moulton voted against it. The NDAA would have to be approved by the Senate — which is controlled by Democrats — and President Joe Biden before becoming law.
“At a time when we need to address recruitment crisis and focus on future threats, this legislation undermines both. Above all else: it does not adequately support our troops,” Moulton’s statement read. “I am disappointed that the damage done to this NDAA means that the priorities I fought to include – like important mental-health measures – are now at risk.”