Wyden Votes No on Massive Military Policy Bill: NDAA Expands Military Spending, Fails to Hold Saudi Arabia Accountable
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., issued the following statement after voting against the National Defense Authorization Act today.
“There’s a lot to like in this year’s defense policy bill—particularly a much needed pay raise for military service members and important investments to support our partners, Ukraine and Taiwan, in the face of growing Russian and Chinese aggression. I’m also proud of the successful results of a decades-long fight to move prosecution of major crimes like sexual harassment and sexual assault out of the military chain of command and over to professional prosecutors.
“I successfully led the charge to include an amendment supporting the National Guard with rapid response and wildfire prevention training. This provision will help make sure that communities in Oregon and nationwide have the support they need from well-trained and well-equipped Guard members when the next fire season hits. I am also proud to have written key provisions requiring the FBI to secure the devices of key intelligence agency personnel, improve transparency about activities under Executive Order 12333 and to ensure government whistleblowers can share matters of concern with Congress.
“But I cannot in good conscience authorize $847 billion in military spending—nearly an $80 billion increase over last year and $45 billion over the President’s budget request. Without stronger budget controls I fear unchecked military spending will serve as a giveaway to defense contractors and their billionaire investors.
“Among many issues, this year’s defense authorization bill omits all of the House-passed bipartisan provisions to hold the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia accountable. America does not become more secure by turning a blind eye to the nefarious actions of Mohammed bin Salman, who has protected perpetrators of violence against Americans and manipulated oil markets to gouge American consumers.
“The bill unfortunately expands the United States’ nuclear arsenal significantly and does not place limitations over the dangerous and controversial 1033 program, which provides military equipment to domestic law enforcement. This defense bill fails to assert Congress’ constitutional authority to declare war, by not repealing the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force against Iraq, despite bipartisan, bicameral support. Further, tucked inside this 4,000-page defense bill is a judiciary security bill that raises serious First Amendment concerns. For these reasons, I voted ‘no.’”
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