PROMO 64J1 Politician - Lauren Boebert 2021 - public domain

Boebert book-ban amendment one factor in split defense bill vote among Colorado representatives

Lauren Boebert
Lindsey Toomer

(Colorado Newsline) Six of Colorado’s eight representatives in the U.S. House voted against the annual defense authorization bill that far-right Republicans loaded with policies restricting access to abortion and gender-affirming health care.

The National Defense Authorization Act is typically a bipartisan project in Congress and is necessary to keep the military running. But amendments added by several Republicans, including Rep. Lauren Boebert of Silt, have led to another culture-war conflict in Congress as Democrats argued the bill’s focus on social issues weakens its military substance and threatens the bill’s viability. 

Rep. Ken Buck, a Windsor Republican, voted against the bill alongside Colorado’s Democratic Reps. Diana DeGette of Denver, Joe Neguse of Lafayette, Jason Crow of Centennial, Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood and Yadira Caraveo of Thornton.

Buck cited the high price tag on the bill as his reason for voting against it, while Colorado’s Democrats cited the inclusion of restrictions on abortion access, among other Republican additions. The bill would authorize $886.3 billion for defense programs.

Defense bill that targets abortion access, trans health, racial equity passes U.S. House

“Sadly, (Speaker Kevin McCarthy) is now bending to the will of his most extreme Members with this poison-pill-filled package that limits abortion care, decreases troop readiness, and hurts our national security,” Caraveo said in a statement. “I’m hopeful that when this package goes to conference, cooler heads in the Senate will prevail and the final outcome will be a commonsense package we can all support, including a healthy pay raise for our servicemembers.”

Boebert introduced three amendments that got onto the bill, including one that prevents Department of Defense Education Activity schools “from purchasing and having pornographic and radical gender ideology books in their libraries.” DODEA schools are for military-connected students from kindergarten through high school. 

“Speaking as a mother of four boys, enough is enough. I don’t send my boys to school to receive indoctrination from the woke mob or to be sexualized by groomers,” Boebert said when introducing the amendment. “And the same can be said for our service members, who are also parents sending their children to DODEA schools.” 

Boebert cited examples of books she found in DODEA libraries that she claimed include sexually explicit material, as well as multiple LGBTQ-themed books. Book bans targeting material about LGBTQ people, particularly transgender people, have increased across the U.S. and in Colorado. Colorado’s representatives voted along party lines on Boebert’s amendment, with Democrats opposed. 

Crow, an Army veteran, said he voted against the NDAA for the first time since serving in Congress because of added restrictions on abortion access for service members. 

“Instead of addressing recruitment and retention challenges, they’re actively pushing partisan measures that will deter the best and brightest from joining our Armed Forces,” Crow said in a statement. “Instead of addressing climate change, they’re ignoring science and threatening military readiness, our economy, and way of life.”

Lamborn, who chairs the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, said he was proud of the final NDAA leaving the House, which he said will also strengthen the country’s military space capabilities.

“This year’s NDAA takes vital steps to reject the radical left’s divisive CRT and DEI initiatives within our military,” Lamborn said in a statement, referring to critical race theory and diversity, equity and inclusion. “This legislation instead prioritizes the morale and welfare of our valiant service members and their families with a pay raise and additional family support.”  

The bill will now go through the Democratic-controlled Senate, where it will likely undergo significant changes.

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