DeFazio Statement on FY2022 National Defense Authorization Act
Congressman Peter DeFazio (OR-04) released the following statement after yesterday’s vote on H.R. 4350, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022.
“Yesterday, I voted in opposition to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022. While I supported several policies included in the legislation, I have significant concerns with numerous provisions, including the bloated topline defense spending of $768 billion that this bill authorizes.
“I strongly supported a number of provisions in the bill, notably the well-deserved 2.7 percent pay raise the bill grants for our men and women in uniform. It also includes vital benefits for military servicemembers and families, such as expanded parental leave, improved mental health services, a new basic needs allowance for low-income service members, and several provisions to combat the scourge of sexual assault in the military.
“I am also pleased this legislation includes a provision I cosponsored that would end unauthorized U.S. participation in the Saudi-led coalition’s war in Yemen. As a longtime advocate for strengthening Congress’s constitutional authority to declare war, I will push my colleagues to keep this amendment in the final NDAA legislation.
“However, I ultimately voted against this bill because I believe it should have included provisions to rein in our bloated, wasteful defense spending and firmly re-establish Congress’ constitutional war powers authority. Instead of granting yet another annual increase of several billion dollars in the defense budget, I strongly believe this legislation could have made reasonable cuts without jeopardizing the safety of our troops or undermining our national security. For three years in a row, the Pentagon has spectacularly failed full audits, yet we continue to throw hundreds of billions in taxpayer dollars at them each year – lining the pockets of greedy defense contractors and special interests and propping up our unauthorized, endless wars.
“It’s beyond time we stop wasting taxpayer money on fueling endless wars overseas. Instead, we should invest in domestic priorities that support Oregonians and the American people. In fact, I supported an amendment that would responsibly reduce the Pentagon budget while retaining exceptions to protect service members, civilian employees, and vital Defense health programs. Unfortunately, it failed to pass the House.
“I am also deeply disappointed that this year’s NDAA would expand military draft registration to all Americans aged 18-25, including women. Military draft registration is an unnecessary and wasteful program that violates Americans’ civil liberties. It subjects Americans who fail to register with unnecessarily severe, lifelong penalties, without due process. The military itself and presidents of both parties have agreed there is no military or national security imperative to ever reinstate a draft.
“The bottom line is that fiscal responsibility at the Pentagon would allow for taxpayer funds to be better spent supporting the needs of our troops, meeting our obligation to our veterans, and bolstering long underfunded domestic priorities. I will continue my work to responsibly lower our wasteful, bloated defense spending and finally put an end to our forever wars.”