Earlier today, the United States Senate passed the NDAA for fiscal year 2018. Only 8 Senators voted no on the measure.
I bring this up because there are points that need to be addressed, as they are central to what I am campaigning for.
First, I share the same concerns expressed by Senator Mike Lee. The plain and simple fact of this bill is that it is over 1,200 pages and amendments had little to no debate before inclusion. Each bill passed by the Senate needs to be deliberate, carefully debated, and this includes all amendments to such bills. This is how we prevent spending on items that are not within scope of the topic of the bill, and to ensure full measures are taken to monitor for consolidation of power outside the scope of government.
Second, this bill’s passage, even though it must still go through a reconciliation process with the House, goes well beyond what was considered the cap for military spending. The spending was $83 billion over what is considered acceptable. I join with Senator Bob Corker in calling out this massive increase.
Third, this bill includes troop level increases beyond what is projected as needed by the Pentagon. We should not be increasing the size of our military. We should be withdrawing from operations overseas to bring troops home to heal and become whole. Maintaining readiness for defense, not an op-tempo of constant intervention.
Fourth, the one amendment I would have definitely been supporting was the one sponsored by Senator Rand Paul to end the AUMF. The Authorization of Use of Military Force has given the Executive Branch of government nearly unilateral power in regard to deploying troops to hostile areas, essentially removing one of the most necessary duties of the Legislative Branch to be in charge of declaring war. This provision has allowed for intervention in a host of nations, each of which is an act of war.
The fifth and final portion I will speak about today is the $60 billion included for “Overseas Contingency Operations.” This fund has been repeatedly abused by the Department of Defense and Department of State. What should be under normal operating expenditures under these departments are drawn from this fund in order to get around budgetary caps those departments have for operations.