The election of Donald Trump had a surprise impact on this month’s House-Senate conference meetings on the fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.
One of the main sticking points in the bill was whether to include House language on contractor “religious freedom” introduced in May by Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla., which critics feared would allow contractors to fire LGBT employees protected under a 2014 executive order from President Obama.
But senior Senate Armed Services Committee aides told reporters Tuesday that “since the election, other paths have opened up” for addressing that executive order and the “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” rule, which contractors have opposed. The bill’s language on religious freedom and fair pay has therefore been removed from the compromise bill.The [National Defense Authorization Act] was always an imperfect remedy,” the aides said the night before the long-awaited conference report and merged bill were set to be posted.
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