Voters largely oppose conservative amendments to defense spending bill Skip to content

Voters largely oppose conservative amendments to defense spending bill

Most voters don’t like using the military budget as a vehicle for social issues.

2 min read

Congress passes the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) each year to fund the U.S. military. This year, House Republicans attached various amendments related to social issues to the $886 billion defense spending bill, setting up a showdown with the Democratic-controlled Senate. 

New polling from Data for Progress finds that voters largely oppose the Republicans’ NDAA amendments to restrict access to abortion and transgender medical care. 

One amendment would prohibit the military from paying for or reimbursing service members who travel to get an abortion out of state. A majority of voters (51%), including 63% of Democrats and 54% of Independents, oppose this amendment. 

We also asked voters about Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville’s blockade of more than 250 senior military officers from getting promoted in protest of the Department of Defense’s policy that provides paid time off and pays for the travel expenses of service members and their dependent family members who seek abortions. A majority of voters, including 75% of Democrats and 58% of Independents, align with the following statement: Senator Tuberville should not block the promotions of U.S. service members. A single senator should not take military personnel decisions hostage due to his opposition to the Department of Defense’s own policies. 

In addition to the issue of abortion, Republican lawmakers are attempting to use the NDAA as an opportunity to restrict LGBTQ+ rights — but voters also disagree with this effort.

Sixty percent of voters, including a majority of Democrats (67%), Independents (61%), and Republicans (51%), agree that anti-LGBTQ+ measures should not be included in bills focused on military spending. 

Sixty-three percent of voters — including a majority of Democrats (80%) and Independents (59%), and a plurality of Republicans (45%) — agree that U.S. service members who are transgender should have access to medically necessary health care. Further, a plurality of voters (47%) oppose the proposed amendment that would prohibit the military from offering health coverage for transgender medical care to its service members, while 38% support the amendment.


Written by Rob Todaro, the communications director for Data for Progress. Cross-posted from Data for Progress.

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