American troops deserve better: Column
By Rep. Dan Newhouse
One of Congress’ most important constitutional responsibilities is providing for our military and national defense. For the past 58 years, this has been a bipartisan affair. Members of the House and Senate from both sides of the aisle have come together to pass a bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that provides for our military and our troops who fight to protect and defend us.
Last week, instead of voting on a bill that would ensure our troops have the resources they need and deserve, the House of Representatives voted on the Democrat’s NDAA legislation which undercuts the priorities of the American people – seemingly just because they do not like President Trump.
While the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed bipartisan legislation by a vote of 86 to 8, Speaker Pelosi and her left-leaning colleagues brought a bill to the floor that would stifle our military’s ability to protect Americans and would negatively affect our military readiness.
The National Defense Authorization Act that was passed out of the House cuts military personnel accounts by $1.2 billion. These are the accounts used to fund pay, benefits, and housing for our troops. The bill contained language that would ultimately close Guantanamo Bay and move the resident terrorists onto U.S. soil, and the legislation – not surprisingly – blocked the funding necessary to secure our southern border.
House Democrats have made it very clear they do not support President Trump, but protesting by withholding support and resources from the brave men and women who fight to defend our country is not what they were elected to Congress to do. The bill they brought to the House floor plays to the far-left progressives of their party and did not take into account the historical bipartisanship of the NDAA. I am extremely disappointed they have decided to play politics with our national security.
The United States military is the best in the world, and I, for one, would like to keep it that way. In order to do so, we must invest in key defense initiatives that strengthen our ability to deter foreign threats from countries like China and Russia. The House Democrats refuse to support the innovation of U.S. nuclear technology, while our adversaries are rapidly gathering nuclear weapons. If we are going to remain successful as superpowers of the world, we must modernize our military forces – not hinder our defenses.
I did not vote for the House NDAA because I believe our troops and the American people deserve better. Senators from across the country were able to put aside their political differences to do what is right and provide for our military and service members. It is my hope that House Democrats can do the same.
Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., represents Washington’s 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. To send an email to Rep. Newhouse, go to https://newhouse.house.gov/contact.