Scott Statement on National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016

May 15, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement on his No vote on H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2016:

“I support a strong national defense and our men and women in uniform, but I could not support this year’s National Defense Authorization Act in its current form.

“The bill shields the Department of Defense from sequestration by moving billions of Defense Department funding into the Overseas Contingency Operations Account, which is exempted from sequestration.  Democrats and Republicans all agree that sequestration is bad policy and must be addressed, but using accounting gimmicks to protect only the Defense side of the budget ledger while still allowing sequestration to arbitrarily cut education, transportation, health care and every other vital function of government is irresponsible and irrational. 

“Congress must find the political will to work together to outright cancel sequestration, but doing so will actually require us to make some tough choices.  We failed to do that two and a half years ago when we passed the so-called fiscal cliff deal that added $3.9 trillion to the deficit and did nothing to address sequestration.  But by refusing to work with Democrats on a path forward to address sequestration responsibly, House Republicans are setting up another unnecessary fiscal crisis.

“This is unfortunate considering that the annual defense policy bill is usually a very bipartisan effort.  I worked with Representatives Randy Forbes, Scott Rigell, Rob Wittman, Joe Courtney, Susan Davis, Derek Kilmer, Jackie Walorski, Mike Conaway, and Duncan Hunter to defeat an amendment on the floor that would have reduced the statutory requirement that our Navy maintain 11 aircraft carriers.  If this amendment had succeeded, it would have unnecessarily burdened our Navy and military personnel by increasing the length of deployments and increasing the stress on our ships and the amount of maintenance they require.  There was also a successful bipartisan effort to defeat an amendment that would have hindered the Navy’s ability to recapitalize the nation’s sea-based strategic deterrent fleet.  The underlying bill also ensured a robust shipbuilding program for the next fiscal year, which always bodes well for the Hampton Roads economy.

“I hope that as the legislative process continues, we can work together on a truly bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act.”

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