WASHINGTON, DC –(ENEWSPF)—December 4, 2014. Rep. Jan Schakowsky released the following statement regarding her vote on H.R. 3979, the FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
“I voted against final passage of the NDAA this afternoon, although I supported several important components of the legislation. This bill received one hour of debate in the House of Representatives – inadequate when we consider that the legislation authorizes funding for military operations around the world. Our soldiers, their families, and the American people deserve careful consideration of our military footprint.
The amount of money authorized by the FY2015 NDAA does little to cut our out of control defense budget. This year’s bill authorizes a total of $577.1 billion – an enormous amount of money. I have longstanding concerns about forcing taxpayers to pay billions of dollars for outdated and unnecessary weapons systems – especially when many of my colleagues are working to cut spending on education, infrastructure, Social Security, and Medicare, among other priorities.
The bill also does not include Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s proposal to change the way that sexual assaults in the military are reported. I believe that change is essential and I will continue to fight for it in future versions of the bill.
Finally, language in this year’s NDAA continues to tie President Obama’s hands regarding the transfer of prisoners from our Guantanamo Bay detention facility.
Despite my opposition, there were some important and positive provisions included in the bill.
I was extremely pleased to see the NDAA include language directing aid to local security forces protecting vulnerable ethnic and religious minority communities in Iraq – including the Nineveh Plain. Many of my constituents have family members who are part of a Christian community that has lived there for generation upon generation. Too many of them are now living in fear, been forced to flee, or suffered even worse because of terrorist threats. I am pleased to be working with groups like A Demand for Action in efforts to improve the safety of Christian and other minorities living on the Nineveh Plain and elsewhere in Iraq, and I am glad that this bill includes support for their ability to protect themselves.
I was also happy to see language encouraging the Department of Defense to support continued implementation of the U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence Globally and its participation in the inter-agency working group on the topic. This language stems from the International Violence Against Women Act, legislation I introduced to combat gender-based violence around the world. I look forward to continuing bipartisan efforts to protect women around the world.
Unfortunately, despite these important provisions, this legislation does more harm than good, which is why I could not support its passage.”