Statement from Senator Mike Lee on the 2017 NDAA [UPH Wire]

*FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE *Thursday, May 12, 2016

*Statement from Senator Mike Lee on the 2017 NDAA*

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Mike Lee joined two of his colleagues in voting
against the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in the Senate
Armed Services Committee. Now that the NDAA legislation has advanced from
the closed-door deliberations of the Committee to the Senate floor for
further consideration and debate, Senator Lee is hopeful that he and his
colleagues will have the time and opportunity to work with the Department
of Defense and Military and Veterans Service Organizations before these
reforms are passed into law.

“I commend Chairman John McCain and Ranking Member Jack Reed for addressing
difficult efficiency and spending issues at the Department of Defense in
this bill, but I could not, in good conscience, vote in favor of the
legislation because it includes two provisions that I believe are misguided
and ill-advised,” Sen. Lee said. “First, the bill requires women between
the ages of 18 and 25 to register for the Selective Service. This is a
highly consequential – and, for many American families, a deeply
controversial – decision that deserves to be resolved by Congress after a
robust and transparent debate in front of the American people, instead of
buried in an embargoed document that is passed every year to fund military
pay and benefits. Second, the bill authorizes the continuation of the Syria
Train and Equip program, which was suspended last year after expending
hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money to train only four or
five fighters and finance the purchase of weapons that were ultimately
seized by Al Nusra, the Syrian Al Qaeda affiliate. I firmly believe that
the American counter-ISIS strategy must be reconsidered from the top-down
and that we should not fund failing programs.”

Although the two amendments that Senator Lee offered to strike these
provisions of the Chairman’s bill were defeated, several other amendments
that he offered were incorporated into the final bill passed out of the
committee. Those amendments include supporting the National Guard’s
retention of Apache helicopter battalions, requiring the Department of
Defense to put forth plans to increase European countries’ defense
contributions to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, requiring any
Department of Defense reorganization to include senior positions
specifically for logistics and sustainment services, and mandating a study
on the potential sale of excess ballistic missile motors for use in
commercial services. The bill also contained authorities aimed at
alleviating some of the high-skilled worker shortfalls at military
facilities across the country, including the Ogden Air Logistics Complex in
Ogden, UT.

When this bill comes to the Senate floor, Senator Lee will continue to work
to ensure that our service members and their families are appropriately
compensated for their patriotic sacrifices and adequately equipped with the
funding and provisions they need to protect our country, and he will
continue to advance reforms aimed at preventing the United States from
becoming embroiled in military actions around the world that do not advance
our national security interests.

*Communications Director*
Conn Carroll
Conn_Carroll@lee.senate.gov
202-224-5444

*Press Secretary*
Emily Long
Emily_Long@lee.senate.gov
202-224-3904

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