Schakowsky Statement on Her Vote Against the National Defense Authorization Act

September 24, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, a Senior Chief Deputy Whip, released the following statement after voting against the H.R. 4350, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022:

“I voted against final passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) last night. While I support several important components of this legislation, I could not in good conscience vote for the bill in its entirety. This bill fails to recognize that the greatest security threats facing Americans – and the world – do not have military solutions. In the midst of a pandemic, climate crisis, and increasing economic inequality, the U.S. should be investing less in weapons and war-making, and more in priorities like health care, diplomacy, and our environment.

The FY 22 NDAA authorizes over $776 billion in new Pentagon spending, $25 billion more than President Biden’s request. It is also more than the Pentagon itself said it needed. This unnecessary increase makes our defense budget 10 times larger than that of the next 10 countries combined and comprises more than 50 cents out of every dollar in the federal discretionary budget. Further, it is over 80 times the budget of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This year, with an ongoing pandemic, Congress needs to reevaluate its priorities as millions of people across the country are still suffering because of the COVID-19 virus. This NDAA does not reflect the best interest of our nation at this moment in time.

“Although I am opposed to this bill, I was pleased to see several bright spots in the legislation, including provisions that increase parental leave for servicemembers, makes changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) to better combat sexual assault in the military, improves access to reproductive care for servicemembers, provides a much needed pay raise to our troops, and further protects military communities from dangerous chemicals, including PFAS.

“Unfortunately, despite these important provisions, this legislation exacerbates an already over-bloated Pentagon budget and funds several defense policies which will not make people any safer. This is why I could not support its passage.”