Rep. Chu Statement on National Defense Authorization Act

Washington, D.C. – Today, the House voted 351-66 to pass H.R. 5515, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill would provide for the authorization of funding for the Department of Defense and other related agencies, programs, and operations for Fiscal Year 2019.

It authorizes approximately $639.1 billion for base budget requirements and an additional $69 billion designated for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) voted against the bill and released the following statement:

“Ensuring our national defense and supporting our men and women in uniform is one of our most basic duties as Members of Congress, and so I am particularly pleased that this bill includes a raise for military personnel while providing needed funding to the Department of Defense.

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“However, I am once again disappointed by the inclusion of a number of provisions that put us at risk, violate our values, and compelled me to vote against this bill. This includes the continued support for Guantanamo Bay as a prison, which we know harms our national security and violates our commitment to civil rights. I’m also very concerned about this bill’s authorization of $65 million for a new low-yield nuclear warhead. We should not be expanding our nuclear arsenal, and this new type of nuclear weapon would lower the threshold for using nukes and increases the risk of miscalculation.

“The bill also includes an amendment which specifically targets Chinese foreign nationals who receive U.S. employment or student visas for extra scrutiny by our federal government. I spoke against this amendment on the floor to say that, in the wake of the false charges against Shery Chen and Xiaoxiang Xi, this amendment would advance and promote discrimination against an entire group based on their ethnicity, likely ruining more careers and encouraging xenophobia against Chinese-Americans. I was disappointed that it was included. Because while we must take national security threats seriously, we cannot promote discrimination to do so.”