Senate removes ‘white nationalist’ from measure to screen military enlistees: report
A provision in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) aimed at keeping white nationalists out of the U.S. military was stripped of the phrase “white nationalists” before it was sent to the White House, HuffPost first reported.
While a version of the bill with the language regarding white nationalists passed the Democratic-majority House, the GOP-controlled Senate passed a different version without it.
The end result after negotiations between the two sides was that the version of the massive policy bill sent to President Trump’s desk earlier this week excludes the House rhetoric and instead requires the Defense Department to study ways to screen military enlistees for “extremist and gang-related activity,” HuffPost reports.
A conference report released after the House-Senate negotiations spells out the actions.
Concerns about white nationalism inside the U.S. military have grown in recent years.
In 2017, a Military Times poll showed that almost 25 percent of American service members reported encountering white nationalists within their ranks.
Earlier this year, a HuffPost investigation linked 11 American servicemen to Identity Evropa, a white nationalist group that helped organize the deadly 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.
“We cannot turn a blind eye to this growing problem which puts our national security and the safety of the brave men and women serving our country in jeopardy,” Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), who originally added the amendment to NDAA, told HuffPost. “It’s disappointing that Senate Republicans disagree.”
Before it was changed, Aguilar’s provision required Defense Secretary Mark Esper to “study the feasibility” of screening for “individuals with ties to white nationalist organizations” during initial background checks, the publication reports.
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