By Tony PerkinsWhen Congress sets records, they aren’t always good ones! But yesterday, the Senate kept a good streak alive, passing the $700 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the 56thconsecutive year. In a Capitol where regular order is rarer than a solar eclipse, the military’s spending bill is one of the few things Congress manages to approve on time. It hasn’t missed since West Side Story was in the theaters, and gas cost 27 cents a gallon.
Originally published in Tony Perkins’ Washington Update on September 19, 2017
Tony Perkins is the President of the Family Research Council (FRC)
But if there was ever a year when the streak might have snapped, it was this one. Apart from the hike in spending, liberal senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) threatened to make a stink about the President’s transgender policy. Despite being three of the most favorited tweets Donald Trump has ever posted, this pair was desperate to keep Obama’s dangerous social experiment alive. In comments to the press, they defended the gender confusion that’s been panned by the service chiefs, troops, and American people.
Gillibrand argued that “Our military is strongest when it represents the nation it serves.” In the end, that’s exactly who the President represented—a country who elected him to ignore the distractions of the last eight years and focus on the job at hand. And, as dozens of military leaders pointed out, that job was nearly impossible with Obama’s social engineering dogging their every move. Taxpayers didn’t escape the weight of it either, staring down a $3.7 billion tab for the next 10 years of transgender surgeries, treatments, and lost deployment time. In a force devastated by two terms of budget cuts, cultural shifts, suicide, sexual assaults, and recruitment woes, no one wanted to fling open the doors to more politically-correct chaos—least of all the men and women in uniform.
Asked point-blank, almost 60 percent of active-duty military held a negative opinion of the decision to allow transgender troops to serve openly. More telling, more than half of that group said the policy change was having a terrible effect on military morale. In other words, it was unpopular, unproductive, and unreasonably expensive. Is it any wonder that one year after Barack Obama changed the policy, Trump changed it back? Like most Americans, he understands that the military’s job is to fight and win wars—not pander to a political agenda that weakens national security.
Fortunately, the majority of GOP leaders arrived at the same conclusion, refusing to give the Gillibrand-Collins amendment a second glance. That’s in large part to the thousands of you who heeded our call and urged your senators to support the President’s guidance. As a result, the NDAA sailed through the Senate 89-8—without even debating a return to the demoralizing policy of the last year. Instead, they focused on the military’s real priorities: increased pay, missile defense, better equipment, and more troops. And while the bill isn’t entirely out of the woods—the House and Senate still have to agree on the final package in conference—this is a huge step in the right direction. Our deepest thanks to the White House and all of you, who refused to stop fighting for the people fighting for us.