The White House says it is opposed to anti-LGBT language included in the House version of a major defense bill.

Representative Steve Russell, a Republican from Oklahoma, proposed language that would allow religiously affiliated federal contractors to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. In 2014, President Barack Obama issued an executive order that prohibits contractors doing business with the federal government from such discrimination.

The provision's lack of a definition for “religious corporation” means that a court could interpret this to include any federal contractor.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Wednesday called the provision “ridiculous” but would not say that it alone was reason to veto the bill.

“And the prospect that Republicans would hold hostage funding for our national security unless the president makes it easier for companies to discriminate against gay people is ridiculous, but unfortunately consistent with the pattern of behavior we've seen from Republicans in Congress over the past several years,” Earnest said. “So, the president does feel strongly about this, but I'm not prepared to single out specific provisions.”

The language is not included in the Senate version of the bill. The two bills must be reconciled to produce a final bill.