Himes Statement on National Defense Authorization Act
Today, I cast a vote against the National Defense Authorization Act. The $605.6 billion bill that ultimately passed uses funding tricks to bypass the cuts set by the sequester. By shifting billions of dollars from the baseline budget to the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) war funding account, this bill technically falls in line with sequester levels, but it’s all smoke and mirrors hiding a higher price tag, which is partially why the President has threatened to veto it. If we want to continue these spending levels on our military, that is a debate I am willing to have, but it must be done in an open and honest way.
While I am proud that good Connecticut aerospace and shipbuilding companies would receive critical funds to support jobs and the military in this bill, I cannot justify using budgetary tricks to circumvent the sequester on defense spending, when it’s cutting so deeply into domestic programs. Congress must embrace a bipartisan, fiscally responsible approach to replace the sequester on military and non-military funding with forward-looking investments in our national security, infrastructure, and education.
I will continue searching for ways to fully and responsibly fund our military and protect the safety of the American people without further indebting them.