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Larsen Votes Against Defense Bill that Sets Irresponsible Defense Strategy


Location: Washington, DC

Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, issued the following statement today after voting against the National Defense Authorization Act.

"I have supported the National Defense Authorization Act for the past 11 years, because I know how important it is to make sure our troops receive the equipment and support they need. I wish I could continue that record now. But this bill makes the wrong choices. It expands the debt. It heightens the threat of nuclear escalation. And it tramples on our Constitutional civil liberties.

"House Republicans decided to disregard the bipartisan Budget Control Act and add $8 billion to defense spending over the cap. Rather than maintain our commitment to cutting the deficit, this bill balloons it.

"I am disappointed the House rejected the bipartisan amendment to ensure due process for all those arrested on American soil and end mandatory military detention. Congress had an opportunity to stand up for our Constitutional rights and make it clear to all Americans that we stand by due process and our judicial system. The civil liberties afforded us by the Constitution do not make us weaker--they make us stronger. We must make sure that military detention in the name of national security is not abused at the expense of our civil liberties.

"In perhaps the most amazing move, House Republicans refused to allow a vote on setting a timetable to bring our troops home from Afghanistan. Instead they pushed through a requirement that our troops stay in Afghanistan until 2016, a position our top military leaders do not even support.

"The House adopted, over my strong objection, an amendment that would put U.S. nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula. This irresponsible move would greatly imperil the security of the region. Instead of acting as a deterrent to North Korea, placing tactical nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula will only embolden the Kim Jung-un regime to develop their nuclear capabilities faster.

"I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate to improve this bill by eliminating these irresponsible and unsafe provisions. I want to make sure our troops have the resources they need overseas and here at home. I am open to voting for the final version of the bill if we successfully improve it. But for now I must vote against it."

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