Congressman John Garamendi Statement on Passage of FY2018 NDAA Conference Report

Nov 15, 2017 Issues: Military and Veterans

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman John Garamendi, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement regarding House passage of the National Defense Authorization Act Conference Report for Fiscal Year 2018:

“As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I’m proud that our legislative process works the way it should: both parties work together in both the House and the Senate to produce bipartisan annual legislation. This bill does some good things. I’m happy that it gives our servicemembers a 2.4% pay raise. Thanks to Ranking Member Adam Smith, it includes a comprehensive set of measures to deter Russia’s attempts to undermine our strategic interests. It recognizes the threat of climate change, and does not discriminate against any current qualified and able-bodied servicemember, or any individual who wishes to serve. It begins the process of building an icebreaker fleet, which is vital to protecting American interests in the Arctic. It also accomplishes two of my longstanding priorities: it contains substantial “Buy America” provisions to ensure that American tax dollars are spent purchasing American-made goods, and it requires the Department of Defense to demonstrate a reliable terrestrial backup for GPS systems.  And crucially for my district, it provides adequate funding to support the most urgent military construction projects at Travis Air Force Base, ensuring that the base will be ready for the vital KC-46 mission it is set to receive in the coming years.

“But that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. We continue to fund the war in Afghanistan with $65.7 billion in off-the-books “contingency account” spending, without demanding any plan from the Department of Defense or doing anything to reclaim the constitutional authority of Congress to declare war. And this bill does not set any limits on the prospect of the dangerous trillion-dollar nuclear arms race we are about to embark on over the coming decade.

“As we move forward, it will be vital for this Congress to pay equal attention to our nation’s domestic priorities. Health care, education and infrastructure deserve our national attention. Instead, this Republican-led Congress has focused on taking away people’s health care to finance a massive tax giveaway for the rich. In this Congress, deficit hawks complain loudly when we discuss funding our healthcare systems or rebuilding our infrastructure, but those hawks are suddenly silent when the House moves to pass a budget-busting trillion-dollar tax cut for the rich. That’s not the way Congress should work.”