Today, Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05), President of the Freshman Class for the 117th Congress, led members of her freshman class leadership team in sending a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer urging smart defense spending in a final version of the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The NDAA is a bill that must be enacted into law each year. While a version of the legislation already passed in the House, more work remains to reach a final product that achieves consensus between members of the House and Senate as well as President Joe Biden. Congresswoman Williams led this letter to ensure key priorities are articulated to House and Senate leadership while improvements can be made.
“The final package is not predetermined,” said Congresswoman Williams. “When the House considered its version of NDAA, I voted no because there is still time to reach a better legislative product. Republicans added $25 billion to the bill that isn’t necessary to carry out the Biden Administration’s defense strategy, and yet they continue to oppose the Build Back Better investments we need here at home.
“I am hopeful that working with my colleagues in House and Senate leadership, we can reach a version of the bill that spends as efficiently as possible on defense, leaving more resources for where they are truly needed.”
Congresswoman Williams was joined by Congresswoman Sara Jacobs (CA-53) and Congressman Mondaire Jones (NY-17) in their letter articulating priorities for the final FY22 NDAA legislation.
“On September 23, the House voted to approve H.R. 4350: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022,” the members wrote. “We were disappointed to see Republicans secure inclusion of an additional $25 billion in the bill beyond the $743 billion in topline funding requested by the Biden Administration. We ask that as the House and Senate work toward a final version of the FY2022 NDAA, we restore topline funding to a level that allows us to defend our nation and promote global security while also curbing waste.
“We cast ‘nay’ votes on final passage of H.R. 4350 to prompt bicameral efforts to restore the bill’s funding to a level that meets the goal of the Democratic caucus to reduce wasteful defense spending. We urge you to work toward this goal in a final NDAA legislative vehicle while preserving the wins members and leadership achieved in the House product,” the members continued in their letter. “This is our chance to chart a path toward thoughtful defense budgeting. We look forward to working with you on the best possible final FY22 NDAA and the goals we share as a Democratic caucus.”
To read the full letter, click here.