CVA on NDAA: Congress has opportunity to listen to American people
Veterans group urges lawmakers to listen to American people: end unnecessary wars, focus on domestic issues
ARLINGTON, Va.—Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Deputy Director, Russ Duerstine, on Tuesday issued the following statement ahead of House debate on the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA):
“As our nation’s leaders begin debate on the annual defense authorization bill this week, they have an opportunity, and a duty, to craft a meaningful bipartisan bill that addresses systemic challenges to our national security as well as issues important to our nation’s veterans, military families, and all Americans. Far too many times, this bill—critical to our nation’s security—has become a vehicle for partisan gamesmanship and propping up political interests. It’s time lawmakers take a hard look at what is needed and make the tough decisions on war and peace, reduce wasteful spending, and shape a defense posture centered foremost on our national security.”
CVA was encouraged by the leadership of some lawmakers who chose to use this year’s NDAA to forge a better American foreign policy and wisely invest defense funds in those things that would make our nation safer.
In particular, CVA commended amendments from Reps. Lee (Calif.), Gosar (Ariz.), Khanna (Calif.), and Williams (Ga.):
- Lee’s amendment #170 would repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF).
- Gosar’s amendment #259 would repeal both the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMFs).
- Lee’s amendment #169 would reverse the $37 billion Congress previously added to the Defense Department’s budget topline above what the president requested.
- Gosar’s amendment #595 would require the Secretaries of Defense and State to report a strategy for U.S. involvement in the war in Ukraine.
- Khanna’s amendment #791 would require Congressional approval for security guarantees with Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates.
- Williams’ amendment #608 would improve public reporting on the cost of current and future post-9/11 wars to each United States taxpayer.
“Rep. Lee has been a tireless champion for the repeal of obsolete authorizations, and we applaud her determination, year after year, to put an end to their misuse. Repealing these AUMFs is 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 continue to bear the burdens of old and new wars 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 was 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 from Rep. McGovern (Mass.) to eliminate the VA Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR) Commission, a process that 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. Rather than embracing and participating in this process, members of Congress like Rep. McGovern have chosen to put politics ahead of the veterans they and the VA claim to serve. Instead of allowing the process to work, they’d rather pass the buck at the expense of veterans.”
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).