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Statement from Rep. Peter DeFazio on 2020 National Defense Authorization Act

Dec 11, 2019
Press Release

Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) today released the following statement on his vote against the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020:

“Today I voted against the Conference Report to Accompany S.1790, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020.

“While this legislation includes a number of provisions that I strongly support—including the largest pay raise for servicemen and women since 2010, the establishment of twelve weeks paid parental leave for federal employees, and the termination of the unfair so-called “Widow’s Tax,” which cuts spouse survivor benefits—the bill is still a continuation of the status quo and falls far short of the more progressive bill the House passed earlier this year.

“The House-passed version of the NDAA included provisions that would have curtailed President Trump’s war-making powers and prevented him from using unauthorized force in Iran, prohibited U.S. support for and participation in the Saudi-led coalition’s military operations in Yemen, and repealed the 9/11-era authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) in Iraq.

“Furthermore, the previous version of the bill included an amendment that would have required the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as a hazardous substance and would restrict discharges into drinking water.

“Beyond the loss of these important provisions, this final package includes yet another massive spending increase to an already bloated Pentagon budget. I have long supported a financial audit of the Pentagon, and for the second year in a row, the Pentagon has spectacularly failed its comprehensive audit. It is ridiculous to provide the Department of Defense (DoD) another massive spending increase when they cannot even account for how it spends taxpayer money.

“I believe this legislation could have made responsible cuts to our defense budget without jeopardizing the safety of our troops or undermining our national security. For years, Congress has continued to increase the Pentagon’s budget despite overwhelming evidence of its waste and abuse of taxpayer money. While this administration has cut SNAP benefits, Medicaid, reproductive health services, and more, Congress has thus far boosted the Pentagon’s budget by more than $130 billion during President Trump’s first term.”