As an organization called by faith to seek a more peaceful, more just world based on respect for international law and human rights, the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) urges members of Congress to vote NO on the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Congress had the chance to use this bill to put a necessary check on the executive branch, reassert Congress’s constitutional war authority, end endless wars, and advance a diplomacy-based foreign policy. Unfortunately, the FY 2020 NDAA fails to do any of that, while authorizing billions in new spending for unnecessary and destabilizing weapons and endless wars.
In a letter shared in September with every office in Congress, FCNL made clear our top priorities for the NDAA. Of the many constructive provisions in the bill, we chose three that passed the House overwhelmingly with bipartisan support. These provisions included a repeal of the outdated and unnecessary 2002 Iraq war authorization, a measure to prevent an unauthorized war with Iran, and a requirement to end to U.S. military support for the war in Yemen led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
the provisions included a repeal of the outdated and unnecessary 2002 Iraq war authorization, a measure to prevent an unauthorized war with Iran, and a requirement to end to U.S. military support for the war in Yemen
Despite intensive national and in-district lobbying by the entire FCNL network, in coordination with allied organizations from diverse political perspectives, none of these important provisions were retained in the final agreement.
While we recognize that the final NDAA does contain a landmark agreement providing 12 weeks of paid parental leave for federal employees, we regret that this victory came at the expense of every other policy change and spending restriction for which we advocated.
This NDAA will bring us to $738 billion in Pentagon spending, the highest level of U.S. military spending since World War II – except for the peak years of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Approving the bill would enable the continued and expanded use of military force around the world without congressional authorization. It will damage U.S. national security and reject the will of the American people, who have clearly indicated their desire for a more restrained foreign policy.
We can do better!
The Friends Committee on National Legislation strongly urges members of Congress to vote NO on the FY 2020 NDAA and send negotiators back to the bargaining table.