December 06, 2023

We Won't Let Far Right Hijack America's Security Priorities

The United States and our allies around the world face security threats at a level not seen since World War II. Ukraine continues its fight against Russia for the freedom and sovereignty of its people. Israel is defending itself in response to the heinous terrorist attacks by Hamas on October 7. Tensions continue to rise as authoritarian aggression threatens our allies in the Indo-Pacific, including Taiwan.

Now more than ever, America must demonstrate strong global leadership to protect our national security and that of our allies. Sound policy must be the basis of this leadership. To respond to ongoing threats, Congress must act to pass the bill that addresses our critical defense needs—the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Through my work as chair of the National Security Task Force of the New Democrat Coalition (NDC)—a group of nearly 100 center-left Democrats committed to breaking through partisan gridlock in Congress—I'm leading my colleagues in the effort to find common ground and get a bipartisan bill across the finish line before the end of the year.

For over six decades, Congress has passed an annual defense bill that fosters American innovation, ensures that our servicemembers' and their families' needs are met, and strengthens our military's readiness.

This year, however, we are in danger of breaking this 60-year streak. Why? Because House Republicans drove a partisan wedge through the NDAA by adding extreme far-right amendments that risk delaying or preventing its passage. And let's not forget that one senator held up 450-plus military promotions for 10 months because he opposes reproductive freedom for those who serve our country.

We must reconcile our differences before the end of 2023 so we can send a bill to President Joe Biden for his signature. Despite partisan tensions in Congress, it is essential that we meet this critical moment in our history by coming together to pass a bicameral and bipartisan bill that answers the global call for American leadership.

That's why the NDC National Security Task Force is pushing Congress to include our five key priorities for the NDAA, which we released last June. Our commitment to continuing support for our allies, prioritizing climate resiliency and energy security, supporting servicemembers and their families, investing in research and innovation, and strengthening our defense industrial base and supply chains has guided our work.

A strong NDAA is essential to ensure that we have the resources, personnel, and capabilities required to keep Americans, our allies, and innocent people imperiled by conflicts around the world safe. But the work of Congress does not end here.

Congress must also take swift action to pass President Biden's national security supplemental funding request for security and much-needed aid in support of Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan, as well as humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza. We also cannot ignore the need for funding to help address migration across the U.S. southern border.

As the member of Congress who represents Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the largest military installation on the West Coast with more than 40,000 servicemembers and their families, I will continue to work with my New Dem colleagues, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, and the Biden administration to deliver durable, bipartisan solutions to protect the American people and those who serve at home and abroad.

By:  NDC National Security Task Force Chair Marilyn Strickland
Source: Newsweek