Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) led the way on Wednesday in stopping an amendment to a defense bill that would have created “diversity, equity, and inclusion” mandates for defense contractors.
The proposed amendment provided that companies with government contracts worth more than $150,000 would be required to report annually on the “racial, ethnic, and gender diversity” of their corporate boards of directors.
The amendment was proposed by Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD) and would have also required covered contractors to lay out their plans to increase the diversity on their boards and to describe how they participate in approved diversity programs.
Banks was joined by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) in arguing that the amendment would waste taxpayer funds, increase political division in the Pentagon, and do nothing to support the mission of the military.
Banks is a Navy reservist and serves as chair of the Republican Study Committee. He noted that the information being sought by the amendment is typically readily available on the covered companies’ websites. He also asked if anyone could “explain how pronoun training will make our defense industry more cost-effective and more lethal.”
Banks pointed out that while it is impossible to show how the amendment would make the military more efficient, it is obvious that it “will waste company time.”
He also argued that no member could describe the “ideal racial makeup of a contractor’s board of directors that would allow them to best contribute to our national defense.” Banks said that even asking the question is “ridiculous and offensive.”
Banks also referred to his battle against the campaign to inject “woke” cultural doctrines into the military, describing his efforts to have books on critical race theory removed from the recommended reading list for sailors issued by the Chief of Naval Operations.
He said that even though there has been no evidence that the woke agenda has done anything other than harm the military’s mission, the amendment being proposed would “inject that same leftist agenda into private contractors.” Banks said the amendment at its core was not about military strength but “about political ideology.”
Banks concluded by saying that it is shameful that the House is neglecting to prepare the military to help keep America secure by focusing “on the radical left’s political agenda.”