National security adviser Jake Sullivan was emphatic that the version of the National Defense Authorization Act that passed the House last week will never make it to President Joe Biden.
“This legislation is never getting to the president’s desk,“ Sullivan said on CNN’s “State of the Union.“ “Because what you have seen from an extreme group of Republicans is to put forward a set of amendments that try to mix domestic social debates with the needs, the security needs of our nation.“
By a vote of 219-210, the House voted Friday to approve an NDAA bill that included measures to block Pentagon policies that reimburse travel costs for troops seeking abortions, to end coverage of transition surgeries and hormone treatments for transgender troops, to gut diversity and inclusion programs, and to limit the specific flags that can be flown at military installations.
“There is absolutely no reason why any Republican should vote against this bill,” Armed Services Chair Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) said Friday. But the current bill is not expected to make it through the Democratic-led Senate intact.
Host Jake Tapper pointed out that the House had passed the measure, but Sullivan insisted it was only a limited number of Republicans behind the amendments that has triggered Democratic opposition to the measure.
“It was a small group of Republicans who essentially created a trap, a circumstance we don’t need to find ourselves in, Jake,“ he said.
Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,“ Sullivan again lamented that Republicans have let domestic politics intrude into national security matters. “What’s real is the necessary capabilities, technologies and fundamental social support for our troops and their families,“ he said. “That’s what this all should have been focused on, not these domestic, political issues.“
He added that a single Republican senator, Alabama’s Tommy Tuberville, is using Senate procedures to hold up military promotions because of the Pentagon’s policies concerning abortions for servicemembers. “I’m not changing my mind,“ Tuberville said last week.
Sullivan said Tuberville’s efforts were solely based on political considerations.
“For the first time in 150 years we don’t have a commandant of the Marine Corps,“ Sullivan said on ABC. “We are very soon not going to have a chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of a chief of Naval Operations. This is making America less safe. And why? Because of the attempt to score domestic, political points.“