NDAA made our soldiers political pawns

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – For nearly 60 years, the National Defense Authorization Act has enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress.

This year, House Democrats have brought a partisan bill to the floor that places political interests over the needs of our men and women in uniform. That’s why I voted against the partisan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 – HR 2500 on July 12.

National security should never be a partisan issue. The brave men and women of our Armed Forces are not political pawns. They deserve the funding needed to maintain a level of readiness that will defeat all threats facing our nation. After the Senate passed their version of the NDAA by a bipartisan vote of 86-6, House Democrats presented a partisan bill that ignores the National Defense Strategy that was supported by the bipartisan National Defense Strategy Commission which included former senior Obama officials.

The recent bill fails to acknowledge the recommendations of former Secretary of Defense Mattis, former Acting Secretary Shanahan, and General Dunford that the military requires 3-5% real growth to maintain a competitive advantage over a resurgent Russia and an emboldened China.

In addition to failing to adequately support our service men and women, the bill places America’s defense on a weakened foundation by:

• Trying to force the closure of Guantanamo Bay detention facility and pave the way for transferring terrorists to the United States.

• Preventing the Administration from taking actions to secure our border.

• Cutting programs and capabilities critical to deterring Russian and China, including cuts to our nuclear modernization.

During the debate process for NDAA, hundreds of amendments were offered. Out of 439 amendments made in order during floor debate, 283 Democrat amendments were adopted and only 62 from Republicans. I submitted an amendment to ensure all military personal receive their pay in the event of a government shutdown. Unfortunately, this amendment was not adopted.

Congress’s main job is to provide for the common defense of the country. This is a duty I take seriously. The partisan bill voted on today falls short of that mission and I could not support it.

Ted Yoho represents Florida’s 3rd Congressional District which encompasses all of North Central Florida and spans six counties, including portions of Clay. He serves on the House Agriculture committee as well as the House Foreign Affairs committee where he is also the Chairman of the Asia and Pacific subcommittee. He is a large animal veterinarian and small business owner by trade. Prior to serving in Congress, he had never sought nor held any political or appointed office. He is a “double” Gator having earned his bachelors and DVM from the University of Florida.

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