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WASHINGTON, DC –  U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal, Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a member of the House Budget Committee, today issued the following statement on the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report. Jayapal voted against the bill yesterday, December 11, 2019.

“My position on defense spending has been clear from the start: We are simply spending too much on the Pentagon, an agency that continues to function without a full audit and with tremendous waste of taxpayer dollars, without benefit to national security. Pentagon spending has become a way to ensure giveaways to defense contractors who relentlessly lobby for and profit off of our country’s unsustainable military budget. As a result, I opposed the NDAA conference report,” said Jayapal.

“I had originally hoped that we would be able to get other critically needed restraints on unauthorized and endless wars—through repealing the 2002 AUMF, working to end US participation in the war in Yemen, and stopping arms sales to Saudi Arabia. The original House bill also prohibited President Trump from drawing down military funds to build his vanity wall.  However, these very provisions were stripped out by Republicans. It would have been hard to vote for the bill with those provisions but without them, it was impossible,” said Jayapal. “I do appreciate Chairman Adam Smith pushing for these provisions through the process, and I am proud that my critical amendment to drive cuts to military spending in 2020 and 2021, by requiring a series of comprehensive, independent studies to guide those cuts.”

“It is also an enormous victory that the bill includes 12 weeks of paid family leave for all federal government employees, it is a big win for the 2 million Americans who work for the federal government and we must do all we can to extend this benefit to all American families,” said Jayapal. “I intend to continue to work hard to rein in defense spending and invest more resources in programs that promote peace, protect our planet, and provide the American people more opportunity here at home.”

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