WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 22, 2014) — Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement Thursday after voting against the fiscal year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
“The Pentagon doesn’t need out-of-date weapons systems and working families and veterans need a better shot at prosperity, but Republicans refuse to get their priorities straight. They fight to fund the A-10 warthog and the East Coast Missile Defense program, while cutting Head Start, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and veterans’ benefits in the name of deficit reduction. That’s bad for our neighbors, our budget and our economy.
“The legislation passed today continues the War in Afghanistan and fails to end indefinite detention, even as Guantanamo Bay continues to stain our nation’s image in the world.
“The bill also intentionally hinders negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. Section 1264 undermines the hard work our diplomats are doing to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. By laying out unrealistic criteria for a negotiated agreement that is unrelated to the nuclear issue, this bill ties the hands of our diplomats. I oppose anything that restricts diplomacy. Preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East is too important.
“Our 2015 National Defense Authorization Act should reflect the threats we face in 2015. Unfortunately, the bill passed today doesn’t do that.”
Two of Rep. Ellison’s amendments were included in the bill:
• #131: A bipartisan amendment with Rep. Moran Griffith (R-VA) that requires the Pentagon to fulfill former Secretary Robert Gates’ Efficiency Initiative relating to the number of generals and flag officers, which will save an estimated $10 million annually.
• #168: A bipartisan amendment with Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Kay Granger (R-Texas) to prohibit Pentagon contracts with Rosoboronexport, the Russian state arms dealer that has armed the Syrian government and provides weapons to Russian troops threatening the sovereignty of Ukraine.