Press Releases

Larsen Statement on Defense Policy Bill Vote

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) released the below statement after voting “no” on the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act:

“I voted ‘no’ because this bill reflects an extreme GOP shift to take reproductive health care away from women who serve and want to serve in uniform,” said Larsen, who served for 22 years on the Armed Services Committee. “It is my hope the final version of the bill includes bipartisan provisions to give servicemembers a raise, deliver Impact Aid to school districts that serve military communities, enable wounded servicemembers to start a family, strengthen the NATO alliance and national security, and continue to support an independent and sovereign Ukraine in its fight against Putin’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion.”

Larsen Supports Servicemembers, Veterans and Military Communities

Several of Larsen’s priorities were included in the House-passed version of the NDAA:

  • Enabling Wounded Servicemembers and Veterans to Start a Family – Larsen has met with veterans and servicemembers who struggle with having children due to medical complications because of their service. Larsen supported a provision to establish a pilot initiative to cryopreserve gametes prior to training and deployments to enable servicemembers to start a family should a dramatic injury occur. 
  • Financial Literacy for Military Families – Larsen is focused on breaking down barriers and creating opportunities for all servicemembers and their families. Larsen supported a provision to require DoD Education Activity schools to add a financial literacy course as a high school graduation requirement. He recently introduced a bipartisan bill with Rep. Trent Kelly (R-MS) aimed at boosting financial literacy for military children.
  • Fostering Emerging Technologies – As a member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Larsen is a strong supporter of NATO’s Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA), which enables the United States and its NATO allies to adopt and integrate innovative technologies. Larsen spoke on the House floor in support of NATO’s Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic.
  • Jet Noise Reduction Research – Larsen has long worked with the Navy and local communities to mitigate the impacts of base operations at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island on surrounding communities and people. Larsen supported a provision to require the Navy to provide a report and briefing on the status of their ongoing jet noise reduction research.

Larsen Opposed to Cluster Munitions

Larsen supported an amendment to the defense policy bill to ban the use of cluster munitions in Ukraine. The amendment failed.

“I oppose the use of cluster munitions. Cluster munitions do not always detonate when deployed, and civilians in countries like Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos have been killed and wounded by these explosive devices long after the end of the war. More than 120 countries have banned cluster bombs. The United States must do the same.”

Larsen’s Continued Support for Ukraine

Larsen affirmed his continued support for Ukraine and Washington state's Ukrainian American community.

“I continue to stand with the Ukrainian people and for an independent and sovereign Ukraine. That is why I have consistently supported humanitarian, military, diplomatic and economic aid for Ukraine. That is why I have met with Ukraine refugees in my district to hear their perspectives on securing work, housing and planning their futures in Northwest Washington. And that is why I voted to reject extreme GOP amendments to reduce aid and undermine U.S. support for Ukraine in this year’s defense policy bill.

“Ukraine and Washington state's Ukrainian American community stand strong. The United States, along with its NATO allies and partners, will continue to focus on responding to the Ukrainian government’s legitimate requests for aid and on holding Putin and his enablers accountable. The war in Ukraine can only end with Ukraine as an independent nation that controls its own borders, selects its own leaders and determines its own future.”

Next Steps

The Senate will soon consider their version of the annual defense policy bill. Once the Senate passes their version of the bill, the House and Senate will work out the differences in their respective versions of the bill before returning a final bill to both chambers for consideration.