Veterans group criticizes NDAA authorizers for increasing budget top line
ARLINGTON, Va.—Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) on Thursday weighed in on ongoing defense spending debates in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2023. The group argued that Congress should avoid putting the U.S. on an unsustainable path by increasing the defense budget over the amount requested by the Biden administration, but welcomed signs that Congress is beginning to course correct on defense priorities by including language to repeal outdated Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMFs).
John Byrnes, CVA’s Education Director, had this to say about the bills:
“For the last 20 years, our military has been consumed by the demands of fighting seemingly endless wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. After America has finally ended its longest war, this NDAA is a chance to course correct on defense priorities and rein in wasteful and unnecessary spending to better meet the current and future defense needs of the country. Instead, lawmakers want to spend more money and continue an unsustainable defense posture. If passed by Congress, this would be a major disservice to our troops, our national security, and the American people. The House Appropriations Committee, on the other hand, wisely rejected attempts to raise spending further in the Defense Appropriations Act. Appropriators should push back on unsustainable defense spending increases by passing a defense budget in line with, not above, the president’s original request.”
The group applauded related efforts in Defense Appropriations language from Rep. Barbara Lee to repeal or sunset outdated Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMFs), such as the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs. These obsolete authorizations were originally intended to respond to the 9/11 attacks and sanction the Iraq War. Since then, these authorizations have been misinterpreted to send troops into harm’s way in over 22 countries and counting, far beyond the intent of their original supporters.
“Rep. Lee has been a tireless champion for the repeal of these obsolete authorizations, and we applaud her determination to put an end to their misuse. Repealing these AUMFs would be a critical step toward ensuring Congress reasserts itself in shaping American foreign policy and is a positive sign for greater accountability in the future. Our troops are the ones bearing the burdens of war around the globe; they deserve a Congress willing to fulfill its constitutional duty to decide when and why we send our men and women into harm’s way.”
CVA has been staunch in its support of lawmakers who have taken a principled stand and worked to repeal these measures in the past. In 2019, CVA welcomed the addition of the bipartisan War Powers Caucus to Congress, applauding lawmakers for prioritizing the issue. CVA also launched a digital ad campaign thanking lawmakers for standing against endless war, praising lawmakers for voting to ensure proper Congressional input before engaging in matters of military force.