Rep. Omar’s Statement on the National Defense Authorization Act

July 21, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON–Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) issued the following statement after voting against the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA):

“Thousands of Minnesotans can’t afford to put food on the table to feed their families. Many can’t make rent and are forced to sleep on the streets. Others are facing a cliff as expanded unemployment benefits expire at the end of the month. Now is not the time to spend another $740 billion on a defense budget while thousands of Minnesotans are unable to make ends meet. Congress must focus on the urgent needs of the American people such as prioritizing healthcare, food access, and housing instead of diverting tax dollars to fund wasteful Pentagon spending. Against the efforts of progressives, this bill also explicitly prevents the end of a nearly two-decade-old war in Afghanistan that has cost thousands of lives.” 

“Despite these serious flaws, I am glad the House took some steps in holding this administration accountable—including my amendment to assure that the Department of Defense will need to report on the impact of airstrikes and human rights when troops are withdrawn from the African continent. I was also grateful that an amendment I cosponsored was included to limit the sale of surveillance equipment to Xinjiang, China, where broadscale human rights abuses are being committed against the Uyghur population. Based on legislation I introduced, the bill amends the Insurrection Action, severely restricting the President’s ability to use military forces in American cities without explicit Congressional approval."

“But we must not sacrifice our core responsibility to our constituents. I refuse to tell Minnesotans that I greenlit billions of dollars in Pentagon waste while they are suffering. For those reasons, I oppose this bill.” 

You can watch Rep. Omar’s floor speech on her Afghanistan amendment here.