Defense and National Security

Keeping America safe is Congress’ most important duty. Democrats are focused on strengthening U.S. national security and restoring America’s leadership in the world. That includes deploying the full arsenal of US power – diplomatic, development, and military tools – to maintain America’s standing in the world. The Democratic-led 116th Congress passed a robust National Defense Authorization Act, which strengthens national security, supports our troops, and defends our allies and interests abroad. It also includes the Intelligence Authorization Act, which reauthorizes critical intelligence programs and strengthens Congressional oversight.

President Trump, on the other hand, continues to undermine national security and make America less safe. With each tweet, Trump erodes US prestige. He has presented no plan or strategy for the gravest threats facing our nation, including strategies to address the situations in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, North Korea, or Yemen. He refused to affirm NATO’s Article 5 and the common defense of our allies or take a stand against Putin’s Russia, which has sowed doubt among US allies. He seeks to cut the diplomatic and development tools that are necessary to maintain order. Trump’s ban on transgender troops serving in the Armed Forces harms our military’s readiness and undermines the values for which U.S. troops risk their lives.

Defense and National Security Related
News that Russia and Iran were able to access voter databases is not only deeply disturbing, it demands action.
With two weeks left before Election Day and millions of Americans already casting their ballots, President Donald Trump still has not indicated what his policy agenda would be for a second term.
It is outrageous that the Trump Administration continues to advantage Russia and try to hide Russian malign activities targeting our democracy.
President Trump’s words about those who died defending our nation were disgusting and outrageous. Never before have I seen a president - or any public elected official, for that matter - so callously demean the sacrifices and service of America’s fallen heroes and those currently serving.
The news today of an encounter between U.S. and Russian forces in Syria underscore the dangers of this Administration’s lack of a strategy to protect our troops, support our allies, and promote an end to the conflict there that secures our interests. I remain deeply concerned that Vladimir Putin intends to use pressure on our military - as we saw with the reports several weeks ago of Russian bounties paid to the Taliban in Afghanistan for U.S. service members killed there - and influence our election and the direction of America’s global national security strategy.
In deploying federal law enforcement to patrol American cities like Portland and Chicago and silence those exercising their First Amendment rights, Donald Trump is drawing from the playbook of the worst dictators of the past century. 
Madam Speaker, I want to thank Chairman Adam Smith of the Armed Services Committee for ensuring a fair and bipartisan process as the House worked to craft a defense authorization bill that strengthens our national security and reflects our nation’s highest principles, and I want to thank the Ranking Member Mac Thornberry as well for working closely with Chairman Smith throughout this process and offering constructive input.
“Good morning. Thank you for being here. Sunday evening I received a telephone call from my former colleague, Mark Meadows, now the Chief of Staff at the White House, who asked me to put together a group of eight to 10 members for the purposes of having a briefing in the SCIF at the White House. I indicated to him I would consider that. I talked to the Speaker about it. Our view has been and always been if the White House asked you to come down for a meeting and to be briefed, you respond to that request.
John Bolton should have testified before the House during its impeachment proceedings against President Trump. Instead, he withheld his damning evidence of the President’s abuse of power, preferring to enrich himself off a book deal instead of performing his patriotic duty to testify before the American people. Shame on him. 
President Truman used to have a plaque on his desk that said ‘The buck stops here.’ President Trump’s approach seems to be, dangerously, as he has said before, ‘I don’t take responsibility at all.’  Over the weekend, we learned of allegations that our intelligence services assessed in March that Russia has been offering a monetary reward for killing American troops in Afghanistan. 
For my entire career in public service, I have supported efforts to make America both strong and safe and a force for peace and reconciliation. In the course of those years, I have striven to draw an acceptable balance between our national security and the protection of our personal liberty and the right to privacy central to our unique and extraordinary democracy: a government of laws, not of men.
"At the request of the Speaker of the House, I am withdrawing consideration of the FISA Act. The two-thirds of the Republican party that voted for this bill in March have indicated they are going to vote against it now.
I doubt that there is a person on this Floor who disagrees with the premises that [Ranking Member Michael] McCaul just stated. Soleimani was a bad person. I said during the course of debate on the Slotkin [resolution], which referenced exactly that premise, that no one lamented the loss of Mr. Soleimani. No one. That's not what this bill is about, nor is that what this amendment is about. This bill, which is called a partisan bill by Mr. McCaul, had 15 percent of the Republicans in the United States Senate vote for it.
The agreement with the Taliban ought to be received with caution, and while I support bringing our troops home, we must do everything possible to ensure that their sacrifices over the past eighteen years have not been in vain.
I want to congratulate incoming President Betsy Korn and outgoing President Mort Fridman for their leadership. Thank you as well to Howard Kohr for his continued efforts to make the U.S.-Israel relationship strong, resilient, and enduring. Let me also extend my thanks to Jeff Snyder, who is stepping down from the AIPAC board this month.  He has been – and continues to be – both a friend and a highly effective advocate for Israel. 
The President promised the American people that Mexico would pay for his border wall, but once again, he is stealing funds appropriated by the Congress to the military in order to fund this costly, ineffective, and wasteful endeavor. 
Yesterday, the President released his budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2021 and made his priorities clear: he continues to put the wealthiest Americans first at the expense of working families. The budget proposal makes tax cuts for the wealthy permanent while breaking his promises to working families on health care, the economy, and other areas that help Americans get ahead and keep them safe.
The President’s nomination of Rep. Ratcliffe was based totally on his loyalty to the President and not on any qualifications or experience that would have qualified him for the job.
I am deeply alarmed by the Supreme Court’s ruling, and I strongly disagree with the President’s efforts to take funds from the military to build an expensive and ineffective wall at our border.
I am pleased that the House was able once more to come together today and pass a bipartisan bill to reauthorize critical intelligence programs that keep our country safe. 
Today, the House voted to disapprove of the Trump Administration’s ill-conceived decision to allow the sale of sensitive military equipment and munitions to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which continue to prosecute a war in Yemen whose main outcome has been an unmitigated humanitarian disaster and military stalemate.
Democrats brought to the Floor this week a defense authorization bill fully in line with longstanding tradition of supporting our military and providing an open process for both sides to offer amendments and have their defense priorities considered.
Ahead of tomorrow’s vote on final passage of the NDAA, we wanted to bring your attention to what Ranking Member Thornberry said on the House Floor during debate of the NDAA for fiscal year 2016 on October 1, 2015:
This morning, the House Armed Services Committee marked up a defense authorization bill for 2020 that will keep America safe and defend our allies and interests abroad. It is shameful that all but two Republicans on the Committee chose to make this vote partisan.