House Republicans were up to their old tricks, proposing an overinflated defense spending bill last week while failing to ensure protections for society’s most vulnerable.
In passing its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the United States Congress, controlled by Republicans, allocated $602 billion to the country’s defense in 2017. The bad news comes via a provision in the bill, which removed previous protections for federal contractors who identify as LGBT.
U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Pembroke Pines) expressed outrage over the tactics of her House colleagues.
“I have been in public service more than 25 years, and today was one of the most shameful days in any elected body I have ever been a part of,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement to the press on May 19. “House Republican Leadership – lacking courage, principle and fortitude – held open a vote so that their Members could stand in favor of discrimination against our LGBT brothers and sisters, by twisting the arms of their own Members until they switched their votes in order to defeat the amendment. Shame on Speaker Ryan and the House Republican Conference for this pathetic display of cowardice and bigotry.”
Congressman Steve Russell, a Republican from Oklahoma, inserted the anti-LGBT provision. Russell’s provision reverses an executive order issued by President Barack Obama in 2014, which made it illegal to discriminate against federal contractors and their employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.