Rep. Huffman Votes Against Bloated 2018 Defense Authorization

November 15, 2017

Washington, D.C.- Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) today voted against the Conference Report on H.R. 2810, the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which passed the House 356-70.  The FY 2018 NDAA authorizes $626.4 billion in discretionary base budget authority and $65.7 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), for a total of $692.1 billion in discretionary budget authority for FY 2018. 

“The defense authorization bill that passed the House today ignores basic math to add billions of unnecessary spending to an already over-inflated Pentagon budget,” said Rep. Huffman. “The bottom line is that this bill will strain our already over-tapped national budget and will undoubtedly be used as a pretext to cut funding from programs that support veterans, seniors, youth, and families here at home. Congress must get smarter in how it approaches defense funding and I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to develop better bills in the future.”

Congressman Huffman’s leading concerns with this year’s NDAA include:

  • Exploding defense spending far beyond statutory budget caps. The conference report authorizes $26.1 billion in spending above even President Trump’s massive budget request;
  • Continuing a harmful practice of circumventing statutory budget caps by including “base budget” spending in the Overseas Contingency Operations account, which is designed to support servicemembers on the front lines;
  • Spending billions on unwanted and unneeded purchases, including 20 more F-35s than requested by the Department of Defense;
  • Continuing to prevent the transfer of prisoners out of the Guantanamo Bay Detention facility;
  • Making an enormous down payment on expensive nuclear weapon programs at a time the U.S. should be focused on non-proliferation;
  • Further committing the U.S. to ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and Syria; 
  • A lack of clear protections for transgender servicemembers in light of the President’s ban on these individuals from serving in the military; and
  • No language to protect DREAMers/DACA servicemembers in the face of Trump’s efforts to repeal this critical program.  

Despite the many shortcomings of the House-passed legislation, Huffman acknowledged several improvements to current policy in the conference report, including:

  • A comprehensive package of bipartisan measures strengthening deterrence and unity against Russian aggression;
  • A provision recognizing that climate change is a direct threat to U.S. national security interests; and
  • Additional measures that expand protections for military victims of sexual assault.