Keller Blasts Democrats for Playing Politics with National Defense

July 12, 2019
Press Release
Calls for a Bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Fred Keller (PA-12) today voted against House Democrats’ partisan National Defense Authorization Act, which includes several provisions that would undermine national security and harm our troops.

Breaking with long-standing tradition of advancing the national defense bill on a bipartisan basis, House Democrats passed their bill on a party-line vote of 220-197. The Senate, by contrast, recently approved its version of the NDAA by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 86-8.

“This bill falls far short of the proposal the President and his advisers requested in order to protect our national security, take care of our troops, and secure our southern border,” Keller said. “Republicans put forth a motion to make sure our troops receive the compensation they deserve, however Democrats blocked it in favor of their partisan bill. For over 50 years this process has been bipartisan. It’s time for Speaker Pelosi to come to the table and put forth a bill that takes care of our troops and ensures our national security.”

The House Democrats’ proposal places liberal priorities ahead of Congress’ duty to ensure the safety of all Americans. The bill cuts $1.2 billion in military personnel funding accounts, affecting our troops’ pay, benefits, and housing; bans the transfer of additional detainees to Guantanamo Bay Naval Base (GTMO) and does not include long-standing provisions against transferring detainees from GTMO to the United States; and implements restrictive policies that limit President Trump’s ability to secure our southern border, such as prohibitions on funding a border wall, fence, and other physical barrier.

Most egregiously, Speaker Pelosi decided to hold tax relief for Gold Star Families hostage while pushing her far-left priorities. While both the House and Senate have passed slightly different versions of the Gold Star Families Tax Relief Act, Speaker Pelosi decided to include the legislative text of the bill in the Democrats’ partisan bill, rather than vote on the standalone bill and deliver much-needed financial relief to the families that deserve it most.

“Speaker Pelosi needs to stop using Gold Star Families as political pawns and immediately bring the standalone Gold Star Families Tax Relief Act to the Floor for a vote,” Keller said. “These families made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. They deserve better.”