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H.R. 4909, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017

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Defense Authorization

On Wednesday May 18, 2016, the House also considered H.R. 4909, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017. H.R. 4909 is troubling on a number of levels. It provides funding for items that the Department of Defense (DOD) has not requested, such as additional planes, rather than designating that money for more urgent needs. The legislation is also partially funded by using the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account, which is a way to get around the budget caps already agreed to through the Bipartisan Budget Act. It effectively increases defense spending without also enhancing spending for non-defense priorities. I have never agreed with funding war efforts in this manner. If the United States conducts a war, the public has a right to know the cost. The government must be accountable to the people in all that it does. Moreover, even if one could support war funding through the OCO, this legislation allows the DOD to move these so-called emergency war funds into other accounts to pay for items NOT related to the immediate war effort. The Administration has stated that H.R. 4909 will be vetoed. I voted NO. H.R. 4909 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

237

5

0

3

DEMOCRAT

40

142

0

6

TOTAL

277

147

0

9

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

1

8

0

0



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