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Rep. Huffman Votes Against 2020 Defense Authorization

December 11, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) voted against the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which passed the House 377-48. Representative Huffman has historically voted against annual defense authorization bills that have allowed wasteful, unaudited Pentagon spending and open-ended wars.

Earlier this year, however, in recognition of many progressive reforms that Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith had secured, Huffman voted to advance the House version of the defense authorization bill. Under Chairman Smith’s leadership, H.R. 2500 made long-overdue policy reforms, including repealing the post-9/11 military force authorization and ending U.S. support for the brutal Saudi war in Yemen.  Unfortunately, and despite Chairman Smith’s best efforts over months of negotiations with the Senate and White House, many of these crucial reforms were removed from the final conference report considered in the House today. 

“I am grateful to Chairman Smith for his diligence and I recognize that the final version of this bill, while deeply flawed, does include some important policy victories – such as paid parental leave for all federal civilian workers,” said Rep. Huffman. “Unfortunately, the GOP Senate and Trump White House rejected too much of the House NDAA and insisted on bad provisions that were not in the House version.  That is why I voted against the final conference report.”

In addition to authorizing far too much military spending with no assurance that there will ever be a serious Pentagon audit, this year’s final NDAA conference report stripped away the following key reforms that had been included in the earlier House bill:

  • Repealing the 2001 Authorization of the Use of Military Force and preventing an unconstitutional war with Iran;
  • Addressing widespread pollution of our nation’s waters by PFAS chemicals;
  • Ending American support for the Saudi war in Yemen;
  • Blocking Department of Defense funds from being used on a wasteful and unnecessary border wall; and
  • Stopping President Trump from launching a new nuclear arms race.

Finally, it is disappointing to see the final NDAA conference report accede to Trump’s proposal for a new “Space Force” that will lead to the dangerous and unnecessary militarization of space.

Despite the many shortcomings of the final legislation, Huffman was gratified to see the inclusion of two specific provisions he authored:  one finalizing an agreement between Sonoma County and the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians, and another ending a decades-long earmark for requiring American coal at a U.S. military base in Germany.

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