WASHINGTON — Northern New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik ultimately voted against House Democrats’ National Defense Authorization Act for the 2020 fiscal year on Friday, although she had previously voted for a different version it in committee.
She released the following statement explaining her thoughts and actions on the annual military spending bill:
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“I am disappointed that Democrats have chosen to make the NDAA a partisan bill. The principal role of Congress in national security is to protect our homeland and provide our men and women in uniform with the resources they need to execute their mission on our behalf. In my district, I am proud to be a leader and fierce advocate for Fort Drum by ensuring it is recognized as a fully capable defense post, and ensuring it has the funding it needs to operate and accomplish its critical mission.
“I was one of two Republicans to cross the aisle and vote for the NDAA in committee in hopes that we could improve it through the amendment process. Today, I voted for the bipartisan amendment to the bill that would have given our military a 4% pay raise, and would have increased the topline defense number. Unfortunately, House Democrats blocked that effort. With the Democrats’ partisan provisions that were added on the Floor, I could not in good conscience vote for this legislation. Our military readiness has already suffered devastating blows from sequestration, and this would worsen the problem. Additionally, this bill reduces the requested topline defense funding number by over $16 billion, hinders the modernization of our nuclear triad, limits the president’s constitutional authority as commander-in-chief to respond to military threats, does not allow the president to deploy troops to the border to enforce our immigration laws, and did not allow the House to debate the Democrats’ efforts to close Guantanamo Bay and bring terrorists to the United States. While I support portions of this bill, I am deeply concerned it fails to fulfill our role as a legislative body and does not reflect a longstanding tradition of robust bipartisan support. I anticipate this bill will improve as we work with the Senate in conference, and am hopeful that a truly bipartisan NDAA will be the result.”