Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) today voted against the House National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA contained $85.8 billion in funding for Overseas Contingency Operations (combat in Iraq and Afghanistan), $5 billion above the President's budget request.
"At a time when we should be focused on rebuilding America at home, the House National Defense Authorization Act grossly overspends on the military, leaving other critical national priorities stuck with sequester-level underfunding," Congressman Huffman said. "The bill actually makes Americans less safe at home and abroad, as it prevents the closure of Guantanamo Bay, blocks New START nuclear proliferation implementation, and doesn't solve the critical issue of indefinite detention of American citizens."
Congressman Huffman opposed a number of provisions in the NDAA, including:
Overseas Contingency Operations - Includes $85.8 in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO)--combat in Iraq and Afghanistan--which is $5 billion over the president's request.
Nuclear weapons - Bocks New START Treaty implementation, further delaying treaty commitments to nuclear weapon reductions, and includes funding of $500 million above the president's request for nuclear weapon programs.
Indefinite detention -- Does not effectively address the issue of indefinite detention of American citizens.
Guantanamo - Maintains prohibitions on the use of funds for Guantanamo detainee transfers.
Missile defense - Includes $250 million in budget authorizations for proposed East Coast missile defense sites. This program is estimated to cost up to $4.5 billion and is opposed by many top military officials, including the director of the US Missile Defense Agency.
Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) -- Provisions in the NDAA prohibit any funds to be used for the consideration or implementation of a new BRAC, despite the military's own request to find cost savings by shifting our domestic base structure.
Despite the many shortcomings of the House-passed bill, Huffman supported several improvements to current policy, including:
Sexual Assault Prevention (SAP) -- Several significant strides on sexual assault prevention, including: removal of commanders' authority to dismiss or reduce court martial sentences, longer statutes of limitations, victim counseling, and SAP training requirements and oversight.
War accounting -- Requires a report on the full and long-term dollar cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Foreclosure protections -- Expands home foreclosure protections under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to service members receiving hostile fire or imminent danger pay, surviving spouses of service members whose deaths are service connected, and certain veterans who are disabled due to service connected injuries.
Suicide prevention --Supports a number of suicide prevention initiatives.