Congressman John Garamendi’s Statement on House Passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman John Garamendi, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, issued this statement on the passage from the House of Representatives of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019. It passed on a bipartisan 351-66 vote: Garamendi voted for the bill.
“The passage of this bill is an important step in meeting the defense requirements for our country. This bill contains the largest pay raise for our men and women in uniform in over a decade, and gives them the resources they need to successfully meet our defense requirements in our troubled world.
“As the Ranking Member of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, I was pleased with the adoption of my floor amendment by the full House that reauthorizes and enhances the US Coast Guard. This was one of my top priorities. The final bill expands the Pentagon’s authority to interdict unmanned aircraft flying near certain military installations to include mobility airlift bases, like Travis Air Force Base, to ensure these critical missions remain protected from rogue or unauthorized drones. It requires an updated Arctic strategy to improve joint military operations in the rapidly melting Arctic Ocean. And requires the Pentagon to address the increasing military presence of both Russia and China in the Arctic. It also requires a report from the Pentagon on our operations in Niger and the surrounding region in North Africa.
“The bill also contains funding for continued improvements at Travis AFB in Fairfield and at Beale AFB in Marysville. It authorizes $35 million to update Travis AFB’s cargo handling facility to provide additional assurance that Travis will remain the Gateway to the Pacific. It also adds needed funding for sensor upgrades to the U2 Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance mission at Beale AFB.”
“I remain concerned with some of this bill’s provisions regarding America’s nuclear forces. I offered amendments that would have prohibited funding to develop dangerous new low-yield nuclear weapons, which would greatly increase the risk of miscalculation, but these were narrowly defeated. Developing these unnecessary weapons will increase the risk of nuclear war and further fuel a dangerous arms race. We’re already on track to spend $1.2 trillion over the next thirty years to modernize our nuclear arsenal, even without developing these new warheads.
“There are still chances to improve this bill. Our goal must be to produce legislation that will allow our military to be strong in the defense of our nation and always wise in its use. We must spend our defense dollars much more wisely and avoid the risk of setting off a nuclear arms race with Russia and China. I look forward to conferencing with the Senate to produce a sound and wise National Defense Authorization Act.”