Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) issued the following statement about her vote against the fiscal year 2017 Defense Appropriations Bill, which passed the House today:
"I firmly believe in the need for a strong national defense. This is particularly true at a time when terrorism and turmoil abroad continue to threaten our allies and our homeland. Unfortunately, the FY17 Defense Appropriations Bill passed by the House of Representatives today fails to provide our troops with the resources they need to keep our nation safe. As a result, I had to oppose this dangerously inadequate bill.
"This legislation transfers $16 billion out of our nation's wartime account to pay for programs the Department of Defense did not even request. Without this $16 billion, our nation's wartime account will not be able to pay for salaries or provide mission support for troops fighting abroad after April 2017. This dangerous funding cliff will either force the Department of Defense to shift funds from critical defense programs, or force the next president to ask for emergency funds within weeks of being sworn into office. Either way, this maneuver will constrain the Defense Department's ability to preserve our military's capability, capacity, and readiness.
"Furthermore, the bill's funding approach attempts to unravel the dollar-for-dollar balance of defense and non-defense funding increases outlined in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. The funding strategy in today's bill will drive up defense spending while threatening spending for our domestic priorities, such as improving our roads, schools, and environment.
"I was also deeply disheartened to see that the House passed two amendments to the bill that would prohibit the Defense Department from temporarily housing undocumented unaccompanied minors who have fled terribly tragic circumstances in their home countries.
"Although this flawed Defense bill has passed the House, I hope we will be able to fix this bill as it keeps moving through the legislative process, so we can fully support the needs of our troops and ensure our nation's security."