Larsen Votes Against Irresponsible Defense Spending

Oct 1, 2015 Issues: Budget, Supporting our Naval Bases

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, today voted against a bill that busts defense spending caps by more than $38 billion, giving the Department of Defense (DOD) a temporary free pass on spending while continuing with harmful cuts to domestic priorities like infrastructure and education. The conference report for the Fiscal Year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed the House by a vote of 270 – 155.

“As a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, I know the Committee is capable of writing bipartisan defense policy bills that we all agree put our country’s best interests first. This year’s bill breaks that tradition by relying on budgetary gimmicks to evade defense spending caps while at the same time, Congress has failed to address the harmful effects of sequestration on critical domestic priorities.

“Earlier this year, I supported advancing this bill out of the House to give Congress time to responsibly fund both domestic and defense spending.  Instead, even in the face of President Obama’s veto, House and Senate Republicans have left $38 billion of core defense spending in the war funding account that is not subject to budget caps. I agree with Defense Secretary Carter that this gimmick harms the military because it does not provide a stable base for long-term budgeting. 

“I support many of the policies in this bill, including the establishment of a joint formulary for key prescriptions drugs to ease servicemembers’ transition from DOD to Veterans Affairs health care.  I am also pleased that the bill increases the number of visas available for translators and others who risked their lives to help our military in Afghanistan.

“However, I cannot support such a haphazard approach to our country’s budget, which should reflect our value of shared opportunity for all. Congress should address the harmful effects of the sequester across all of our national priorities, rather than using tricks to protect just one part of the budget.” Larsen said.