VoteVets Cheers Passage of Defense Authorization Bill, Urges Senate To Follow

WASHINGTON, DC – The largest progressive group of veterans in America, VoteVets, is today praising House passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and is urging that some key provisions remain in the final bill. Director of Government Relations, Mary Kaszynski, said in a statement:

“Passage of the NDAA is essential in keeping our military strong, and we’re thankful that the House Majority advanced it towards final passage. There is still some work to go, and to that end, we urge the Senate to pass the House bill, and get it to President Biden for his signature.

We are particularly happy to see that a top priority of VoteVets -- an independent Afghanistan commission -- has made it into the bill. That bipartisan provision, led by Senator Tammy Duckworth, Senator Todd Young, and Senator Jerry Moran, in the Senate, and Rep. Andy Kim, in the House, is essential in learning from the mistakes of America’s longest war, and ensuring that we don’t make those mistakes again. The commission will be objective and apolitical, giving Americans and their lawmakers a sober assessment of how America stayed at war for so long, when it was clear no progress was being made.

We also strongly support the bi-partisan measure to establish a Global War On Terror memorial, on the National Mall.

However, a few key provisions did not make this bill, and we urge Congress to take them up separately, as soon as possible. In particular, we're extremely disappointed to see that a repeal of the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force that green-lit the war in Iraq is not being repealed. That war has been over for a decade, and Saddam Hussein has been dead for longer than that. Removing that AUMF from the books will help ensure that it cannot be misused to launch military action in the future. Congress must debate future wars, and no president should be able to get around that by using moot AUMFs.

Secondly, while Military Justice Reform is in the bill, it is not nearly as robust as the reforms being championed by Rep. Anthony Brown, a veteran himself. We urge House and Senate leaders to begin immediate work to pass legislation that enacts those reforms.

Again, we thank House leadership for getting the NDAA through, and while we still have more work to do, we look forward to the final bill being signed by President Biden.”