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Rep. Sewell condemns GOP attacks on diversity, inclusion in defense bill

A Republican amendment would eliminate diversity, equity, and inclusion offices at the Department of Defense and all associated personnel.

Rep. Terri Sewell on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.
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U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, AL-07, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, on Thursday spoke out against Republican attacks on diversity and inclusion in the annual defense bill. During debate on the Fiscal Year 2025 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Rep. Sewell spoke in opposition to a radical Republican amendment eliminating diversity, equity, and inclusion offices at the Department of Defense and all associated personnel. The amendment passed the Republican-controlled House Thursday afternoon.

Rep. Sewell’s remarks are below.

As a proud member of the House Armed Services Committee, I take seriously my responsibility to ensure that our service members get the support they need to keep our nation safe. 

But once again, Republicans are pushing poison pill amendments into our bipartisan defense bill, focusing more on culture wars and division than on our national security. 

This radical amendment would eliminate diversity, equity and inclusion offices at the Department of Defense and all personnel in those offices. 

I shouldn’t have to remind my Republican colleagues; Diversity is our strength as a nation. Inclusion is proven to be beneficial for military effectiveness, military readiness, and ultimately our national security. 

Yet my colleagues continue to fight our military leadership as they work to strengthen our Armed Forces.

In the midst of our military recruitment shortfalls, Republicans are focused on the wrong thing. They’re busy telling our service members and potential recruits that Congress does not value their background or lived experiences, [rather] than recruiting the best and brightest to defend our country. 

This is not only harmful, but it’s also hurtful. Hurtful that our military recruitment, preparedness and cohesiveness is at jeopardy and at stake. 

Our national security and our national defense deserve better. 

Again, this year, I’m disappointed that we are considering amendments that poison legislation which would otherwise be bipartisan.

I urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment, and let’s get back to the business of being truly bipartisan when it comes to our National Defense Authorization Act.”

Last month, the FY25 NDAA passed out of the House Armed Services Committee with overwhelming bipartisan support. However, for the second consecutive year, House Republican leadership has abandoned a decades-long tradition of bipartisanship surrounding the NDAA, allowing their most extreme Members to hijack the bill with partisan, “poison pill” provisions attacking diversity and restricting access to reproductive health care.

The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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