Veterans group urges Senate to do right by American people: End unnecessary wars, focus on domestic issues
ARLINGTON, Va.—Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) on Thursday responded to the House’s passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023, highlighting some key amendments that would wisely refocus the efforts of our defense budget and foreign policy, while condemning other misguided amendments which, if passed by the Senate, would negatively impact our nation’s veterans:
Russ Duerstine, CVA’s Deputy Director, had this to say about the bill:
“Year after year, this bill continues to be used as a vehicle for partisan gamesmanship and propping up political interests. We applaud leaders who instead chose to embrace and participate in this process by supporting amendments that address systemic challenges to our national security as well as issues important to veterans, military families, and all Americans.”
In particular, CVA commended amendments, which passed, from Reps. Lee (Calif.) and Williams (Ga.):
- Lee’s amendment #170 would repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF).
- Williams’ amendment #608 would improve public reporting on the cost of current and future post-9/11 wars to each United States taxpayer.
CVA was discouraged by the no vote on Lee’s amendment #169 which would have removed the $37 billion in extra defense spending Congress added on top of what the Pentagon originally requested.
“Our troops continue to bear the burdens of old and new wars around the globe; they deserve leaders in Washington who are willing to make tough decisions about when and why we send our men and women into harm’s way. We applaud Rep. Lee for being a leader and tireless champion for the repeal of outdated Authorizations for Use of Military Force. Thanks to her efforts, this Congress is one step closer to fulfilling its constitutional duty of reasserting itself in shaping American foreign policy. CVA urges the Senate to follow suit and put an end to obsolete authorizations that could make it easier for America to get dragged into unwise wars in the future.”
CVA was also disheartened by the lack of accountability in Washington when it comes to veterans’ access to timely and quality health care. In particular, CVA condemned the amendment, which passed, from Rep. McGovern (Mass.) to eliminate the VA Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR) Commission. The AIR process would realign VA resources to better meet the needs of our nation’s heroes.
“Right now, veterans are trapped in a broken and outdated VA system not built to address their needs. The AIR commission is the best chance to modernize the VA health care system to meet the needs of the veterans it serves. Rep. McGovern and legislators who voted to pass this amendment have chosen to put politics ahead of the health and well-being of the veterans they and the VA claim to serve.”
Earlier this week, CVA sent a letter to Congress outlining key NDAA amendment priorities.
“The Senate will now have an opportunity to listen to the American people, put party politics aside, and pass an NDAA that is aligned with our nation’s most vital interests. It’s up to this Congress to correct course and forge a better, more prosperous path forward.”
CVA recently released a poll showing a majority of the American people want domestic concerns to be a greater priority and would like to see the country less militarily engaged in the world overall. The poll was conducted by YouGov from June 23 through June 29, 2022 and is representative of the American public. Findings include:
- A plurality of respondents saying our military footprint should be reduced (40%), and roughly a third think it should stay about the same (31%). Conversely, only 12% would like to see our military engagement increase.
- Additionally, a solid majority (52%) would oppose sending more troops to the Middle East (only 17% would support such a move).
- Only about a quarter of the American public support directly involving the U.S. military in the Russia-Ukraine war, with almost twice as many people opposing.
- Notably, when compared to a similar poll conducted in February, American sentiment on going to war with Russia has remained unchanged (roughly half opposed, less than a quarter supported).