Maybe it's the eggnog, or maybe it's the Democrats' lousy poll numbers, but whatever's fueling it, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) are finally working with Republicans to get something positive done. For the first time since Joe Biden became president, the two sides are on the verge of passing something America actually wants -- the military spending bill. After 11 months of miserable partisanship, Democrats have apparently decided to stop playing games and take national security seriously. And for our troops, the rush of goodwill couldn't have come at a better time.
With threats like China and Russia breathing down the world's necks, the last thing America needs is the majority party playing chicken with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The Left spent months loading up the proposal like a Christmas tree of radical social policy that they knew Republicans wouldn't support. Finally, up against the clock and away from the media's prying eyes, the Left managed to look almost civil in negotiations -- dropping their wildly controversial demands for everything from free contraception and radical transgender policies to women in the draft.
In an astonishing reversal that no one predicted (including conservatives), Democrats agreed to drop their ridiculous demand for women to register for the Selective Service at the last minute, stunning even long-time political observers. Thanks to an avalanche of emails and calls from FRC supporters -- almost a quarter-million of them -- our friends on the Hill fought even harder. Spurred on by all of the outcry, Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) went into the conference meeting over the bill determined to strip the provision from the bill no matter what it took.
Against every possible odd, they succeeded. Afterward, Inhofe said he was proud of their decision to hold the line. "Plain and simple, we shouldn't be forcing our daughters and granddaughters to register for the Selective Service." Hartzler, who helped drive the effort in the House with Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), celebrated the win for women -- and the dozens of other issues they fixed in the final bill. "Most all of [the problems] have been addressed," she explained on "Washington Watch." "It is a very, very positive bill now, and I was very, very pleased. I'm chairman of the House Values Action Team, and my team and I [studied] the earlier version -- and we had multiple pages of concerns... We presented those... in conference, [and] I would say 98 percent of them are out... So this is a very, very good bill at this point."
She also explained that President Biden had hoped to cut our military funding when our enemies have never been more dangerous. So along with giving our troops a pay raise, the two sides also agreed to add another $25 billion dollars to the top line of the defense budget. "So I'm very pleased and very thankful for all the people in this country that weighed in on these very important issues during our negotiations to help us reach this point."
On the other side of the Capitol, Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) -- one of the three senators with amendments on the draft issue -- looked on with interest. At the end of the day, he argued, Democrats obviously didn't want to take a vote ordering our "daughters and wives and sisters -- we're talking about teenagers, 19-, 20-, 21-year-olds -- to go out and register for the draft to fight America's wars." How would they explain "the largest expansion of the draft in American history and focus it entirely on women at a time... when we're also seeing historic numbers of sexual assaults in the military?"
It's not a matter of women serving honorably in our Armed Forces, he said, pointing to his own sister, a Navy veteran. "But what we're talking about, what the Left wanted to do, was something very different. It's forced conscription of American women. And for what reason? Is it because we don't have enough able-bodied folks already in the draft? No, that wasn't the reason. Is it because there was some desperate need to expand the draft? No, that that wasn't the reason. It's because of their cultural agenda. It's because of their social agenda. My view is the military shouldn't be an experiment in that way, and the Democrats should take their war on women, sports and their war on gender, and their war on women somewhere else."
We all understand the uproar over women's sports. Our daughters should be able to compete and get scholarships without the fear of men robbing them of those opportunities. But in this case, we're talking about national security -- a vital element of our nation that's being politicized in the Left's efforts to eradicate the reality of gender. And the consequences of that wouldn't just extend to our girls -- but to America's very survival in a dangerous world.
Fortunately, even Democrats seemed to recognize that, passing the compromise bill out of the House on Tuesday night by a 363-70 margin. From there, it heads to the Senate, where Hawley and others will make sure nothing stands in the way of our troops doing their jobs -- including the Left's extremism.
In the meantime, there's an important lesson in here for Christians who care about the political process, and that's this: we can make a big difference when we engage together. Will we always win? No. But sometimes, just taking a stand gives our leaders the confidence they need to fight harder. There will be times like this when we prevail even in the most unfavorable of circumstances. But then, God didn't necessarily call us to succeed -- He called us to act. The outcome is His. We can only do our part -- but as this debate proves, it's an important one.