Rep. Gallego Successfully Fights Trump Agenda on NDAA
Washington, DC – Last night, Rep. Gallego successfully passed three amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act during a late-night marathon markup of the bill.
No Defense Funds for the Border Wall
President Trump will not be permitted to use Department of Defense funds to build his border wall, after the House Armed Services Committee voted to bar Pentagon funding from being used for the wall. Rep. Gallego introduced the amendment in order to prevent Trump from raiding the defense budget for political purposes when he is unable to convince Mexico to build the wall. Rep. Steve Knight (R-Calif) introduced a substitute to Rep. Gallego’s amendment, and Rep. Beto O’Rourke introduced a perfecting amendment that contained the language ultimately passed by the committee.
“At some point, President Trump is going to realize that Mexico isn’t budging in their refusal to entertain his absurd idea to have them pay for a border wall that won’t work and isn’t needed,” Rep Gallego said. “With no direct appropriation from Congress, President Trump is going to get desperate for funding. It’s important that we protect funds designated for our military personnel and equipment from his political whims.”
DREAMers in the Military
In a victory for immigrant rights, the House Armed Services Committee voted to affirm the Secretary of Defense’s broad discretionary power to enable immigrants – including DREAMers – to enlist in the military. Rep. Gallego had introduced very similar amendments during NDAA markup for the past two years, but Republicans later succeeded in stripping out this critical provision on the House floor.
“I fought in Iraq, and I know that what matters on the battlefield isn’t your immigration status, it’s whether you have the right skills and character,” Rep. Gallego said. “For the third year in a row, a bipartisan majority of the House Armed Services Committee agreed. The passage of this amendment is a victory for DREAMers and other immigrants who wish to show their patriotism by serving our country in uniform. Now it’s time for Secretary Mattis to use this legal authority and begin enlisting DREAMers in our military as soon as possible.”
Protecting our Government from Russian Interference
Taking a strong stance against Russian meddling in our national affairs, the House Armed Services Committee passed an amendment introduced by Rep. Gallego that expands Defense Secretary Mattis’s ability to revoke security clearances of Trump administration officials who had inappropriate contacts with the Russians. The measure was passed as a part of a group of amendments passed by voice vote.
“Those who are vulnerable to foreign influence shouldn’t have access to our government’s most sensitive secrets,” Rep. Gallego said. “The American people deserve competence – not corruption – from the leaders entrusted with our national security. And they deserve to be able to rest easy at night, knowing that our democracy is safeguarded.”