(USA Features) Congressional Republicans will seek to bar the U.S. military from teaching critical race theory at its academies and to its service members, reports said on Friday.
Specifically, House Republicans are rallying around a strategy to attach a provision banning CRT instruction to the National Defense Authorization Act, which will be up for debate when lawmakers return next month.
Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.), a West Point graduate and infantry officer who later became a flight surgeon after med school, serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan, said the provision is part of an overall “strategy” to purge the highly controversial materials from military educational institutions.
“Those amendments will be heard, I believe 1 September, as amendments to the NDAA, and by asking for a vote on it, folks like [Rep. Abigail] Spanberger and [Rep. Elissa] Slotkin, who are on the committee, are going to have to basically say what they believe,” Green said of two of the House Armed Services Committee Democratic moderates.
“They’re in tough swing districts,” he added. “I think there’s a chance they would vote for it, and [it would] get on.
He said Republicans “only need two or three Democrats” on the House Armed Services Committee to vote in favor of the amendment to get it out of committee and to the floor.
“And then, when it’s on the bill on the floor, the NDAA typically passes,” Green told the Washington Examiner.
Other Republicans have already signaled their support for the amendment.
“I will absolutely support amendments to the NDAA to ban critical race theory from being forced onto students studying at our military academies,” GOP Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama, the ranking member of the committee, told the Examiner.
“We must ensure that our military academies [are] focused on preparing our future military leaders for confrontation with China and Russia,” he added.
Opponents of critical race theory, which dates back to 1970s academia, have repeatedly denounced it as dangerous and divisive.
They point out that the curriculum teaches that since whites are inherently racist, every American institution, which were devised and implemented by majority whites, must also be systemically racist.
In June, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the Department of Defense does not “teach” or “embrace” the theory during a House Armed Services Committee budget hearing.
But Republicans aren’t so sure.
In May, GOP lawmakers said they intended to try and use the National Defense Authorization to block critical race theory instruction after hearing from rank-and-file troops that were forced to go through similar-type training and coursework.
“My Republican colleagues and I hear regularly from active duty and retired service members that even holding conservative values is now enough to endanger a service member’s military career,” Rogers said then.
He noted in a statement that the issue must be addressed in the 2021 NDAA, a bill that nearly always garners bipartisan support, adding that he will work with “any free-speech-minded Democrats interested in joining our cause.”
Holding up funding “may be a step we have to take … but I wouldn’t say that we can’t get that passed either,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) told Fox News in May in response to using the NDAA to get CRT banned. “Remember, the defense bill passes every year. It has passed every year for 60 years.”