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Voters Actually Oppose Anti-LGBTQ+, Anti-Abortion Amendments to Defense Bill: Poll

Voters Actually Oppose Anti-LGBTQ+, Anti-Abortion Amendments to Defense Bill: Poll

People in voting booths

Those are the findings of a Data for Progress survey of likely voters.

As Republicans in Congress keep attaching anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-abortion provisions to the defense spending bill and other appropriations legislation, a new poll finds a majority of Americans in opposition to these moves.

The poll from Data for Progress, released Tuesday, asked specifically about the National Defense Authorization Act, which is considered a must-pass bill to fund the U.S. armed forces. The Republican-majority U.S. House this month passed a version of the NDAA that includes amendments restricting service members’ access to abortion and gender-affirming health care. The Senate, which has a slim Democratic majority, is debating its version, and the two versions must be the same before going to President Joe Biden for his signature.

Democrats are likely to oppose these amendments, and according to the Data for Progress poll, many Americans oppose them too.

Data for Progress surveyed 1,254 likely voters July 19-20 and found that 60 percent of them agreed that anti-LGBTQ+ measures should not be included in bills focused on military spending. This included 67 percent of Democrats, 61 percent of independents, and 51 percent of Republicans.

The organization also asked whether transgender service members should have access to medically necessary health care, and 63 percent of respondents agreed, including a majority of Democrats (80 percent) and independents (59 percent), and a plurality of Republicans (45 percent).

An amendment to the House bill would ban insurance coverage for gender-affirming care for trans people in the military, and this is considered medically necessary. Forty-seven percent of those surveyed opposed the amendment, and 38 percent supported it.

Another amendment would prohibit the military from paying travel expenses for service members who must go out of state to obtain an abortion. Fifty-one percent of respondents, including 63 percent of Democrats and 54 percent of independents, opposed the amendment, which would revoke a policy put in place by the Biden administration after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade,therefore allowing states to ban or severely restrict abortion.

Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama has been blocking promotions for senior military officers — 250 so far — in protest of that administration policy. The Data for Progress poll asked respondents to comment on Tuberville’s stance, offering them the choice of two statements, one saying that Tuberville should not block the promotions and the other saying he should continue his protest. Fifty-five percent said he should not block them, including 75 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of independents.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points. See the full results here.

The Congressional Equality Caucus, made up of LGBTQ+ members of Congress and allies, has spoken out against the anti-LGBTQ+ amendments in appropriations bills. These provisions, known as "riders" because they're amendments that aren't relevant to the bills' purpose, include not only the gender-affirming care bans but also measures allowing federal contractors to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people; restricting display of Pride flags; banning diversity, equity, and inclusion programs; defunding the State Department's special envoy tasked with advancing LGBTQ+ rights globally; and bans on drag shows.

“This Congress, extreme MAGA Republicans are using the appropriations process to further their radical agenda and attack the LGBTQI+ community,” Equality Caucus Chair Mark Pocan, a gay Democrat from Wisconsin, said in a Tuesday press release. “Motivated by bigotry and the desire to appeal to the GOP extremist base, more than 40 anti-equality provisions across the 12 appropriations bills were passed. Last week, they went even further and cut millions of dollars in funding for member’s community projects that would have tackled LGBTQI+ homelessness and housing insecurity. I condemn these discriminatory attacks and remain committed to ensuring none of these awful provisions make it into the final funding bill that becomes law.”

“Instead of responsibly working to pass Appropriations bills that fund the programs and services all Americans rely on, the majority has opted to distract from the calamitous ramifications of their dangerous spending cuts by loading up must-pass legislation with indefensible riders that subject some of the most vulnerable communities to discrimination,” said House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member and Equality Caucus Member Rosa L. DeLauro, a Democrat from Connecticut. “We are appropriators. Our job is to fund the federal government. The bills our committee produces are statements of our priorities and our values as a country. To that end, the majority has shown they have no values, and no priorities, and are solely focused on how to appease their most extreme caucus members, to greenlight discrimination and impose second-class status on LGBTQ+ Americans, and to defund American workers, seniors, families, and veterans.”

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