Larsen Votes Against Defense Bill That Sets Irresponsible Strategy, Allows Discrimination

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, issued the following statement after voting against the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017, the country’s annual defense policy bill. 

“Voting against the National Defense Authorization Act is a difficult decision, because I know how important it is to make sure our troops receive the equipment, training and support they need. However, this bill makes the wrong choices. It uses dangerous budget chicanery. And it permits discrimination against the LGBT community.

“My colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee and I put a lot of hard work into this bill, and it includes many positive provisions like my language to allow WIC offices to operate on military bases. But I cannot support a bill that shortchanges our women and men in uniform as a ploy to tear apart the budget agreement, allows runaway spending on nuclear weapons programs and turns back the clock on vital protections for workers. 

“I want to see the House and Senate come together to complete a bill that does right by our troops and our national security needs,” Larsen said.

Policies Larsen disagreed with include:

  • Transferring $18 billion from the war spending account to the main defense budget. This move ensures that Americans serving in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere will run out of funding before the end of the budget year, absent further Congressional action.
  • Allowing religious organizations that contract with any agency of the federal government to discriminate on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. Larsen cosponsored an amendment to strip this language from the bill, but the House majority did not accept the amendment.
  • Continuing on the path to $1 trillion in nuclear weapons spending without conducting rigorous oversight or developing a plan to pay for it.