House Republicans adopted legislation to finance the Department of Defense until fiscal year 2024 late Thursday night, a victory for GOP leaders when they decided to remove Ukraine funds from the plan after two failed procedural votes.
Approving the plan will not help Congress avoid a government shutdown before the September 30 deadline, but House GOP leaders are hoping that pushing the bill and other full-year financing measures will persuade conservatives to support a short-term financing stopgap.
The Pentagon budget bill, the largest of the 12 full-year spending bills, has been a source of concern for Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and its passing represents a small victory for the Speaker.
Conservatives failed to advance the proposal in two procedural votes last week, with some hardliners pushing for tougher expenditure cuts and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) opposing financing for Ukraine.
McCarthy told journalists last week that he will remove $300 million in Ukraine help from the Pentagon bill and hold another vote on the money to build up support for the plan. He eventually changed his mind after seeing that a package funding the State Dept included aid for Ukraine.
McCarthy stated that it would be “too difficult” to remove the support from the State Department bill, so he decided to maintain it in both bills. The House ultimately passed both legislation, along with two other spending bills, on a mostly party-line participate in elections, with Greene being the lone Republican to reject the procedural vote.
The House decisively rejected a proposal to remove the $300 million from the law on Wednesday, defeating the idea 330-104.
However, late Wednesday night, amid fears that the Pentagon measure would not pass, the House Rules Committee called a last-minute meeting and sought to remove the $300 million from the package. Earlier on Thursday, the House passed a separate Ukraine financing bill.
In the Pentagon spending measure, House Republicans requested more than $820 billion in new defense funding. This includes a significant “investment in security partnership funding for Taiwan,” pay raises for military troops, and funding for the National Guard Counterdrug Program, which negotiators boasted earlier this year.
The plan also includes a slew of riders that Democrats have condemned as divisive and potentially destructive to recruitment, such as measures geared at diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as others the party claims will be hurtful to members in the LGBTQ community.