Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Huffman Joins House Majority in Approving Defense Budget; Trump Threatens Veto Over Confederate Names on Bases

Posted By on Tue, Jul 21, 2020 at 5:48 PM

click to enlarge huffman-cropped.jpg
North Coast Rep. Jared Huffman today voted with the House majority to approve the National Defense Authorization Act, noting that while he has concerns about its size, he worked with his Congressional colleagues to include amendments addressing climate change, protecting public lands and cleaning polluted waterways, among others, in the bill.

Passed by a bipartisan vote of 295 to 125, the annual budget act authorizes $732 billion in discretionary spending for U.S. national defense for fiscal year 2021, according to Huffman’s release.

President Donald Trump threatened to veto the bill because it would require the Pentagon to rename bases and infrastructure bearing names of those who served in the Confederacy, according to national media reports.

The bill would also ban the display of the Confederate flag on Department of Defense property as well as create a $1 billion Pandemic Preparedness and Resilience National Security Fun. It does not provide funding for the border wall.

“This year’s NDAA is another unique opportunity to secure many priorities for my constituents, like blocking the Trump administration’s new nuclear arms race, addressing climate change, cleaning up polluted waters, and protecting our public lands – including my Northwest California public lands bill which I am happy to see pass out of the House for the second time this year,” Huffman states in the release. “For these reasons, I ultimately decided to vote for this year’s defense authorization bill in the House, and I will keep working with my colleagues to reduce the military budget and make other necessary fixes to the bill so I can hopefully support final conference report.”

Read the full release from Huffman’s office below:


Washington, D.C. – Today, Representative Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) voted for the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the annual bill that authorizes funding for the Pentagon. The FY 2021 NDAA was approved by the House 295 to 125.

“As usual with the nation’s bloated defense budget, I have serious concerns that we’re spending too much on the Pentagon’s wish list when we have so many urgent needs at home,” said Rep. Huffman. “However, working with my colleagues we were able to successfully negotiate to improve this flawed bill. This year’s NDAA is another unique opportunity to secure many priorities for my constituents, like blocking the Trump administration’s new nuclear arms race, addressing climate change, cleaning up polluted waters, and protecting our public lands – including my Northwest California public lands bill which I am happy to see pass out of the House for the second time this year. For these reasons, I ultimately decided to vote for this year’s defense authorization bill in the House, and I will keep working with my colleagues to reduce the military budget and make other necessary fixes to the bill so I can hopefully support final conference report.”

The House also approved Rep. Huffman’s amendment to permanently protect public lands and waters across the U.S. The amendment includes Rep. Huffman’s Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act, which passed out of the House earlier this year with bipartisan support.

This legislation protects more than 300,000 acres as wilderness, designates roughly 480 river miles as wild and scenic, addresses climate change, includes an ambitious restoration plan to improve forest health and promote fire resilience, and expands opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Click here to view Rep. Huffman’s remarks on the House floor in support of the amendment and click here to learn more about the Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act.

This NDAA authorizes $732 billion in discretionary spending for U.S. national defense for FY 2021, including approximately $69 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO).

This year’s NDAA includes several important provisions that honor America’s values, strengthen security and public health, combat climate change and pollution, and advance America’s leadership in the world:

Creating A More Inclusive, Diverse Military

Changes names for all military bases and infrastructure named for individuals who served in the Confederacy.

Prohibits the public display of the Confederate flag on Department of Defense installations.

Adds diversity requirements for the Department of Defense and National Nuclear Security Administration.

Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Creates a $1 billion Pandemic Preparedness and Resilience National Security Fund, directing the funding to efforts to proactively increase our country’s ability to be prepared for and respond to future pandemics.

Addressing Climate Change

Establishes a new “National Academies Climate Security Roundtable” within the National Academy of Science to establish best practices for identifying and disseminating climate indicators and warnings to ensure that environmental security is included in operational planning and intelligence analysis.

Authorizes additional funding to support research that advances long-range forecasting of seasonal and subseasonal weather patterns, which would provide national security officials with advanced warning of potentially destabilizing events.

Provisions on PFAS Chemicals

Requires the Secretary of Defense to meet or exceed the most stringent standards between an enforceable State standard under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA).

Requires the Department of Defense to publish on a public website the results of drinking and ground water PFAS testing conducted on military installations or former defense sites. Requires the Department of Defense to notify the congressional defense committees when there has been an uncontrolled release of PFAS-containing firefighting agent.

Prohibits DLA procurement of certain items containing PFAS, including cookware, uniforms, personal care products, floor, and furniture wax, carpeting and upholstery, and food packaging.

Authorizes $150 million for research lines that support development of PFAS remediation and disposal technologies and firefighting agent replacement. Authorizes a total of $1.5 billion for environmental remediation and cleanup at current military installations, formerly utilized defense sites, and installations closed by BRAC, to include an additional $190 million in BRAC and Environmental Restoration accounts to support acceleration of remediation activities and PFAS response.

Limits Involvement in Yemen and Wasteful Spending on Trump Border Wall Yemen:

Prohibits the use of DOD funds to provide logistical support to the Saudi-led coalition for strikes in Yemen. It also prohibits DOD civilian, military, or contractor personnel from participating in hostilities against the Houthis, without authorization from Congress.

Border Wall:

Does not authorize funding for the border wall, and limits the funding under the national emergency military construction authority to prevent its misuse on the President’s wasteful border wall.

During floor consideration, the House adopted several amendments to improve the bill, including: Prohibiting any funding for the Trump administration's push for new nuclear testing, which will lead to a new nuclear arms race.

Limiting the ability of the President to deploy active duty military within the United States during civil unrest by amending the Insurrection Act.

Rep. Huffman also voted for the progressive Pocan-Lee amendment, which would have reduced overall authorization level by 10%, while protecting military personnel, the federal civilian workforce, and defense health program accounts. It failed on a vote of 93-324.

“Local economies in Northwest California benefit when people come to visit our spectacular, world-renowned public lands and rivers. I greatly appreciate and am excited to again celebrate House passage of this legislation that will protect and restore some of the region’s most cherished landscapes,” said Gregg Foster, Executive Director of Redwood Regional Economic Development Commission.     
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Kimberly Wear

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Kimberly Wear is the assistant editor of the North Coast Journal.

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