Democrat infighting nearly prevented passage of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act in the House of Representatives Friday, U.S. Rep. Dr. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN-04) said in a press release.
The annual defense policy bill, which for 58 years has passed with bipartisan support, instead passed in the House on a party-line vote. It survived only because of concessions to far-left socialists, insisting on the elimination of programs critical to defending the United States from Russia, China, Iran and other adversaries, the congressman said.
The House on Friday approved the bill after adopting a progressive amendment including a prohibition on deploying lower-yield nuclear weapons and a ban on sending new prisoners to the Guantanamo Bay detention center, Roll Call said.
The final vote on the fiscal 2020 bill was 220-197. No Republicans supported the typically bipartisan measure that traditionally has earned more than 300 of the 435 available House votes.
A video of DesJarlais addressing the House on the matter is available here.
“The legislation simply doesn’t provide our military men and women with the resources needed to adequately protect the homeland and could negatively impact facilities in and around the Fourth District of Tennessee, including Arnold Air Force Base, Red Stone Arsenal, Oak Ridge Laboratories and Y-12,” DesJarlais said.
DesJarlais retweeted a statement by U.S. Rep. David B. McKinley (R-WV-01), who said, “The Senate overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan NDAA bill, but instead of taking up the Senate package House Democrats have brought forward a purely partisan bill. For nearly 60 years NDAA bills have been bipartisan, but this year House Democrats have decided to play politics.”
The Senate overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan NDAA bill, but instead of taking up the Senate package House Democrats have brought forward a purely partisan bill. For nearly 60 years NDAA bills have been bipartisan, but this year House Democrats have decided to play politics. pic.twitter.com/Yo1w2lzqWC
— David B. McKinley (@RepMcKinley) July 11, 2019
A member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), DesJarlais says he is a strong supporter of improved border security and nuclear technology. He voted against the bill, which would undermine both, he said.
“The Senate, as the House usually does, passed this year’s defense authorization by a wide bipartisan margin. In past years, when Republicans held the majority, we’ve offered Democrats abundant opportunities to voice concerns and add amendments. However, with Nancy Pelosi in charge, our colleagues across the aisle have behaved differently, shutting us out of the process.
“As a result, Congress’ first responsibility, protecting national security, has become another partisan exercise, a product of bitter animosity towards the President, which reverses the progress we’ve made to rebuild the military after years of neglect,” he added.
DesJarlais also is a member of the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, as well as the Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities. The congressman says he offered amendments to fix problems in the legislation.
“Amazingly, Democrat leaders rejected these measures, because they would likely pass with bipartisan support, displaying the kind of cynical partisanship that has prevented good legislation from passing the House this term,” said DesJarlais, who joined HASC Ranking Member Mac Thornberry and every Republican House member in voting no.
“I’m disappointed we lost an opportunity to work together, and I could not support this NDAA.”
– – –
Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.