CONGRESSMAN LIEU STATEMENT ON HIS NO VOTE ON NDAA
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Washington - Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D | Los Angeles) released the following statement after he voted no on the Conference Report on H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (NDAA).
“I support a strong U.S. national security policy. That is why I voted no today on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Through months of budget, appropriations, and NDAA discussions, it has become apparent that my Republican colleagues believe that national security can be guaranteed solely by funding the military while subjecting everything else to draconian budget cuts. As a graduate of Air War College, I know that true national security is founded on projecting not just military might but all elements of national power: economic, political, and cultural, among others. The former Soviet Union tried to define national security as only funding the military; that is one reason the USSR collapsed. As long as Republicans insist on focusing on only one element of national power at the expense of the others, our country’s national security will suffer.
This NDAA authorizes more than $89 billion in discretionary budget authority to a special war-time spending account in order to circumvent budget caps that apply to every other aspect of government. It is an accounting gimmick that adds instability to our defense budget and undermines our national power. It is also the latest illustration of the dangers of sequestration. As Defense Secretary Carter has said, the Republican bill is “clearly a road to nowhere” and “unfairly dispiriting to our force.”
Additionally, this bill includes inexcusable provisions that amount to the most extensive restrictions on closing the Detention Center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, that have ever been included in the NDAA. It is long past time for the U.S. to lead by example and close this facility, which is a stain on our human rights record that costs our government nearly $3 million per year per inmate.
After 53 consecutive years of passing the NDAA on a bipartisan basis, the majority has chosen to move forward with an irresponsible, partisan bill. At best, Republicans are undermining American power out of a refusal to fund anything else, such as education, health care, and infrastructure. At worst, they are playing partisan political games with our national security.
I stand ready to work with my colleagues to responsibly fund the military and the rest of the federal government to guarantee true security for our nation.”