U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) issued the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the annual defense spending bill that authorizes the Pentagon's policies and programs.
"I take oversight of our national security very seriously. Each year, Congress has an opportunity to review the Defense Department's budget, priorities, and policies by passing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). I do not believe that the bill we voted on yesterday goes far enough to important priorities that strengthen our national security. Instead, our national security depends on a military that reflects the demographics of the American people and a Congress that conducts aggressive oversight over the inflated budget of the Pentagon. While this debate is important and warranted, our country continues to struggle to contain COVID-19. Because of this crisis, people have lost their jobs and lack the financial resources to buy food and pay rent. This is tragic and these issues must be addressed urgently.
The bill on the floor yesterday sets an unsustainable and irresponsible annual budget for the Pentagon and does not address financial waste, fails to protect transgender members of our military who bravely fight for our country, fails to amend or repeal the outdated and abused Authorizations for the Use of Military Force, and fails to provide funding to fully remediate PFAS/PFOA sites. Because this NDAA fell short on so many fronts, I voted no."