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Rep. Ruben Gallego Statement on Passage of National Defense Authorization Act

July 12, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) released the following statement:

“I am proud to have led several efforts that are a part of this year’s NDAA and that I hope will soon become law.

“For the second year, I am proud to have led the effort to recommit the United States to maintaining a robust military presence in South Korea for the foreseeable future, in order to preserve peace and stability in the region. While President Trump continues to fumble during negotiations with Kim Jong-un, it is more important than ever that we preserve the safety of our armed forces, our nation, and our allies as we work toward a lasting peace in the region.

“A provision I authored will limit the Department of Defense’s authority to repurpose funds that were designated for military construction. By diverting money from troop recruitment accounts, counter narcotics efforts, and critical infrastructure projects, the Trump Administration starving our troops of what they need and making our country less safe. My provision will help prevent Trump from jeopardizing our military readiness and national security by using our armed services as a bottomless piggy bank for the president’s worst political impulses.

“This year’s bill will also require the Department of Defense to provide more information on awards and disciplinary action taken as a result of the investigation into the deadly Niger Ambush in 2018, where we lost four American soldiers. For the past year and a half, general officers and senior leadership at the Pentagon have shirked responsibility for this disaster. Congress will now demand transparency and a full accounting of the Department’s botched investigation. Our duty to those killed and to their families demands no less.

“My amendment to require a National Guard readiness briefing on natural disasters and weapons of mass destruction will help ensure that the United States is ready and able to address ever-evolving threats from wide-area natural disasters and the evolution of new chemical, biological and cyber hazards.

“I was also able to work this year to ensure that Arizona’s military priorities are recognized and preserved. A-10 Warthogs at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base are fully funded under this bill, ensuring that the fleet will be able to continue its close-air support mission to troops on the ground. F-35s, including those at Luke Air Force Base and Yuma Marine Corps Air Station will also be fully funded under this bill, ensuring that the Air Force is able to meet current threats and use F-35 fighters for training that will allow our pilots’ to keep their skills sharp and face the advanced threats of the coming decades.

“This bill helps improve our military readiness, modernize our armed forces, preserve our national security, and provide the resources, equipment, and training our military needs to complete their missions. I am proud to have helped draft it and will work to ensure it becomes law.”