Congressional Progressive Caucus Leaders Condemn Pentagon Authorization Bill
WASHINGTON —Representative Barbara Lee (CA-12), Chair of Emeritus of the CPC and Chair of the Caucus Peace and Security Task Force, and Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) issued the following statement upon passage of the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in the House of Representatives:
“The bill MAGA House Republicans passed today allocates the single largest funding total the Pentagon has ever received from Congress and actively blocks the Biden administration from retiring obsolete, costly, and unnecessary weapons systems. It follows the end of a 20-year war, and the fifth time the Defense Department has failed an audit.
“The American people would be forgiven for believing this record-high funding is actually going to support service members or veterans. However, a significant percentage goes to pad the profits of the war industry. Since 2001, Pentagon spending has totaled more than $14 trillion, with between one-third and one-half going to military contractors — and much of it to just five major Pentagon firms. Weapons manufacturers have spent $2.5 billion on lobbying over the past two decades, employing more than one lobbyist for every member of Congress. Those contractors and lobbyists stand to make even more off of taxpayers this year.
“Meanwhile, investments in domestic priorities, from education to housing to health care, are squeezed more than ever after Republicans forced draconian spending caps in exchange for not defaulting on the country’s debt. Our constituents are consistently told it costs too much to continue the Child Tax Credit to support families climbing out of poverty, to provide universal health care so people don’t continue to go bankrupt if they get sick, or to provide paid sick leave for every worker like the rest of our peer countries do.
“The funding level is far from the only problem with this NDAA. MAGA Republicans conducted an unprecedented and unrecognizable process, refusing to even allow debate on amendments that have been made in order for years. They even robbed a Progressive Caucus member of her amendment to ban the transfer of cluster munitions and handed it to one of the most extreme MAGA members, who weakened its provisions. The result is a bill that goes out of its way to attack abortion, immigrants, and LBGTQ rights and efforts to make the military more inclusive and reflective of America; reverses progress on climate action; and hobbles our ability to combat extremism in the military. Thanks to MAGA House Republicans, this bill excludes progressives’ provisions to protect the human rights of civilians abroad, reassert congressional war powers, or strengthen labor and civil rights for service members.
“Progressives in Congress have long fought to take on waste, fraud, and abuse in the Pentagon budget and rebalance the federal government’s spending priorities away from excessive militarism and toward investments in working families, both at home and abroad. The MAGA agenda could not be more fundamentally different — a politics dictated by bigotry, fear, and xenophobia. Progressives know that we do not have to choose between a strategic military and foreign policy that achieves our national security goals and one that is rooted in justice and humanity, committed both to diplomacy with our adversaries and cooperation with our allies. The American people deserve no less, and progressives will not give up our fight to make it a reality.”
Amendments by CPC Members Included in the Final Bill:
- #302 Garamendi (CA): Fixes loopholes in existing requirements for pricing data by clarifying when cost or pricing data is required. Makes clear that requirements to provide cost or pricing information can only be waived when there is a price competition that results in at least two responsive and viable offers.
- #1375Jacobs (CA), Mace (SC),Jayapal (WA), Biggs (AZ),Lofgren (CA), Tenney (NY),Hoyle (OR): The amendment would prevent DOD from purchasing data that would otherwise require a warrant, court order, or subpoena. This applies to data inside the United States.
Sampling of Progressive Amendments by CPC Members Blocked or Ruled Out of Order:
- #46 Lee (CA), Pocan (WI), Espaillat (NY), Raskin (MD), Grijalva (AZ), Huffman (CA): Reduces the NDAA top line by $100 billion and holds harmless all accounts that support pay and benefits for personnel and dependents.
- #1270 Pocan (WI), Lee (CA): Requires a report on DoD's progress made and remaining challenges to achieving an unqualified audit opinion.
- #31 Lee (CA), Roy (TX), Spanberger (VA), Hageman (WY),McGovern (MA), Donalds (FL),Hoyle (OR), Bishop (NC), Meeks (NY): Repeals the 2002 and 1991 Authorizations for Use of Military Force for Iraq. (Identical text to HR 932 and S 316).
- #658 Tlaib (MI): Strikes the prohibition on the reduction of the total number of nuclear armed Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) deployed in the United States in Sec. 1638. Prohibition on reduction of the intercontinental ballistic missiles of the United States.(Received floor vote)
- #276 Blumenauer (OR), McGovern (MA), Garamendi (CA): Strikes Section 1639 and prohibits the use of funds for the sustainment of the B83-1 bomb. This amendment reflects the 2022 Nuclear Posture Review, which declared the B83-1 "will be retired."(Received floor vote)
- #49 Lieu (CA), Meeks (NY),Khanna (CA), Titus (NV): Requires the Secretary of State to develop guidance for investigating indications that U.S.-origin defense articles have been used in Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition in substantial violation of relevant agreements with countries participating in the coalition and to report to Congress, consistent with GAO recommendations.
- #161 Bowman (NY), Bush (MO), Schakowsky (IL), Tlaib (MI), Khanna (CA): Prohibits U.S. military presence in Syria without Congressional approval within one year of enactment.
- #478 Jacobs (CA): Requires recipients of Section 127e and Section 1202 programs to undergo vetting for gross human rights violations.
- #1473 Jacobs (CA), Omar (MN), Jayapal (WA), McGovern (MA): Prohibits the transfer of cluster munitions.
- #576 McGovern (MA), Pocan (WI), Schakowsky (IL), Johnson (GA), Blumenauer (OR), Huffman (CA), Doggett (TX): Calls for an annual report from State to Congress, in consultation with DOD, that assesses the status of Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank.
- #651 Tlaib (MI): Directs Secretary of State to submit 502B(c) reports on any country receiving Foreign Military Financing (FMF) or Foreign Military Sales (FMS) where the Secretary has credible information that state security forces were involved in the killing of a journalist in the last 5 years.
- #1171 Hoyle (OR), Khanna (CA), Jayapal (WA): Revised Prohibits U.S. funding from being used for unauthorized U.S. military involvement in the war in Yemen if the Saudi-led coalition resumes aerial hostilities against the Houthis in Yemen. This includes prohibiting funds from being used for military logistical support or intelligence sharing that enables offensive strikes.
- #1179 Ocasio-Cortez (NY): Directs the Department of State to submit to Congress a report documenting knowledge from 1980-2010 regarding Colombian military involvement in assassinations, disappearances, collaboration in paramilitary offensives, military conduct in the false positives initiative from 2002-2008, and any gross violations of human rights.
- #1241 Bush (MO): Expands transparency and congressional oversight of arms exports by eliminating the thresholds for congressional reporting requirements in the Arms Export Control Act.
- #1258 Bush (MO): Prohibits funds from being made available to carry out armed unilateral or multilateral intervention in Haiti, unless Congress first enacts a joint resolution authorizing the specific use of such funds.
- #1293 Casar (TX): Provide the Secretary of Defense with the authority to transfer funds in excess of the amount requested for weapons purchases in the President's budget to DoD child care programs.
- #1309 Garcia (IL): Before enforcing sectoral or broad-based sanctions, requires the Secretaries of Treasury and State to certify that such sanctions will not result in civilian death.
- #1360 Ocasio-Cortez (NY): Requires the Secretary of the Department of Defense to submit a certification addressing human and civil rights violations in Peru before continuing certain cooperation with the government of Peru.
- #1375 Davidson (OH),Jacobs (CA), Mace (SC), Jayapal (WA), Armstrong (ND), Lofgren (CA), Cline (VA),Escobar (TX): Late Establishes warrant requirements for web browsing history, Internet search history, and Fourth Amendment-protected information of United States persons or persons inside the United States
- #1378 Grijalva (AZ): Prohibits the amounts authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available by this act be used to establish or maintain any relationship between the Department of Defense and the Government of Ecuador, including any office or agent of such government, in order to provide, authorize, or assist in any way in the transfer of weapons, military equipment, crowd control supplies, or any other supplies, to such government or to coordinate joint exercises with the military and police forces of such government until certain criteria is met.
- #1453 Omar (MN), Jayapal (WA): Directs the Secretary of Defense to develop a process within 180 days of this bill’s enactment to inform host country governments within 30 days of PFAS contamination and possible health hazards surrounding overseas U.S. military facilities and develop a remediation strategy that considers input from affected communities and in communication with the host-country government.
- #435 Jayapal (WA), McClintock (CA), Davidson (OH): Repeals the statutory requirement that the Department of Defense submit unfunded priorities lists to Congress outside the formal budget request process.
- #218 Jayapal (WA): Grants authority to the Secretary of Defense to produce insulin to be sold with no additional upcharges for use in federal healthcare programs.
- #636 Jayapal (WA): Requires that any COVID-19 vaccines or treatments developed by the Department of Defense be, to the greatest extent practicable, non-exclusively licensed, added to the WHO technology access pool, and publicly produced through a government-owned contractor-operated facility.
- #440 Jayapal (WA): Bars the federal government from contracting with firms with two or more willful or repeated violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Establishes a $50,000 penalty for failing to disclose such violations to the contracting agency.
- #242 Jacobs (CA), Schakowsky (IL), Garcia (TX), Tokuda (HI), Bonamici (OR), Dean (PA), Casten (IL),Escobar (TX), Johnson (GA), Takano (CA): Prohibits discrimination in the military and ensures that standards for eligibility for service and equality of treatment and opportunity in service may not include any criteria relating to protected categories and gender.
- #391 Garcia, Robert (CA), Balint (VT), Tokuda (HI), Omar (MN), Norton (DC), Schakowsky (IL), Titus (NV): Restricts security assistance to Uganda until the Secretary of State certifies that the Government of Uganda is upholding basic human rights standards including protections for LGBTQI+ rights.
- #587 Schakowsky (IL): Establishes a preference for Department of Defense offerors that meet certain requirements pertaining to labor relations.
- #892 Blumenauer (OR), Nunn (IA), Crow (CO), Miller-Meeks (IA), Schakowsky (IL),Ciscomani (AZ),Norton (DC), Sherrill (NJ), Swalwell (CA),Crockett (TX), Bera (CA),Tlaib (MI), Johnson (GA), Goldman (NY),Peters (CA), Kim (NJ),Keating (MA), Spanberger (VA), Jayapal (WA), Moulton (MA),Nadler (NY),Matsui (CA), Foster (IL), Correa (CA),Porter (CA), Stanton (AZ), Case (HI), Larsen (WA): Authorizes 4,000 additional visas for the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) Program.
- #260 Sherman (CA): Prohibits the transfer of U.S.-origin nuclear reactors, equipment, or technology to Saudi Arabia until Saudi Arabia signs an Additional Protocol to its nuclear safeguards agreement with the IAEA, and certifies that it is not building or acquiring nuclear enrichment or reprocessing facilities.
- #710 Jayapal (WA): Authorizes $20 million in funding for the US Army Medical Research and Development Command and any of its subordinate entities to conduct two phase-III clinical trials, one for the vaccine and another for a booster, for the patent-free and openly licensed Corbevax vaccine to gauge its effectiveness and suitability in reducing hospitalization and transmission rates of COVID19. Offset from Defense-wide operations and maintenance.
- #1460 Carson (IN): To require a report to Congress on the death of American citizen, Shireen Abu Akleh.