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Congressional Progressive Caucus Highlights Progressive National Security Ideas and Reforms

“For far too many years, military spending—which represents over half of our federal discretionary budget—has failed to reflect the priorities of the American people. This year, Congressional Republican leadership threatens to make that disconnect even worse, seeking $696 billion for the military—more spending than at any point during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Their aim is to grossly inflate a budget with minimal accountability at the expense of the truly urgent needs: our crumbling roads and schools, underfunded law enforcement and teachers, polluted air and water, and our underserved veterans, many of whom have fallen victim to a devastating opioid crisis and need much stronger health services.

“The inflated defense budget, which busts budget caps by $72 billion, comes after the Pentagon buried an internal report that revealed at least $125 billion in administrative waste.  

“It is for this reason that we are proud to present a selection of amendments introduced to the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act by our fellow Congressional Progressive Caucus members. Their creative, strategic, and commonsense proposals help point our country toward a vision for U.S. defense that genuinely pursues global peace instead of endless war. The following amendments would cement America’s global leadership and improve ordinary people’s lives both abroad and at home.” 

·         Amendment 334: [Pocan (WI), Jayapal (WA), Grijalva (AZ)]

o   Expresses the sense of Congress that any authorization to appropriate increases to combined budgets of National Defense Budget (050) and Overseas Contingency Operations should be matched for non-defense discretionary budget.

·         Amendment 251: [Grijalva (AZ), Poe (TX)]

o   Provides for a limitation on use of funds to conduct domestic surveillance by unmanned aerial systems.

·         Amendment 380: [Lee, Barbara (CA), Jones (NC)]

o   Late Reduces the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) by $10,000,000,000

·         Amendment 245: [Lee, Barbara (CA), Polis (CO)]

o   Reduces the base Defense Department budget by 1% excluding military/reserve/National Guard personnel, as well as Defense Health Program account.

·         Amendment 97: [Cicilline (RI), Yarmuth (KY)]

o   Provides that the Secretary of Defense shall consult with the Office of Management and Budget to update guidelines for the proper use of funds within the Overseas Contingency Operations account consistent with the recommendations of GAO Report GAO-17-68.

·         Amendment 73: [Khanna (CA), Jones (NC), Conyers (MI), Pocan (WI), Lee, Barbara (CA)]

o   Prohibits refueling for missions over northern and western Yemen and require a reoccurring report to congress

·         Amendment 188: [Moore, Gwen (WI)]

o   Requires the U.S. strategy on Yemen to also assess the political and humanitarian environment in Yemen, ways to mitigate harms to civilians caused by the ongoing conflict, and efforts to improve access to food, water, and health care. Requires an assessment of how military and other support to regional allies will help to achieve this strategy, including how the U.S. will ensure that such aid is not used to harm civilians. Requires that future budget requests specifically identify costs associated with implementing the required strategy.

·         Amendment 165: [McGovern (MA), Jones (NC), Lee, Barbara (CA), Massie (KY), Garamendi (CA), Welch (VT)]

o   Requires Presidential determination and Congressional action to increase levels of U.S. troops deployed in Afghanistan after September 30, 2017.

·         Amendment 369: [Doggett (TX)]

o   Seeks to protect US security interests, U.S. military personnel and U.S. citizens by establishing a direct channel of communication with Iran.

·         Amendment 129: [Conyers (MI), Jones (NC), Lee, Barbara (CA)]

o   Nothing in this Act shall be construed as authorizing the use of force against North Korea.

·         Amendment 130: [Conyers (MI), Lee, Barbara (CA), Jones (NC)]

o   Nothing in this Act shall be construed as authorizing the use of force against Syria.

·         Amendment 30: [Cicilline (RI), Trott (MI)]

o   Prohibits the use of funds by this act to transfer F-35 fighter jets to Turkey until the President of the United States certifies that that nation is cooperating with the criminal investigation and prosecution of Turkish government employees involved in the May 16, 2017 assault on civilians in Washington, DC.

·         Amendment 168: [Jackson Lee (TX)]

o   Directs the Department of Defense to prepare contingency plans to assist relief organizations in delivery of humanitarian assistance efforts in South Sudan and to engage in consultation with South Sudan military counterparts to deescalate conflict.

·         Amendment 227: [Amash (MI), Conyers (MI), Pocan (WI), Jones (NC), Lee, Barbara (CA)]

o   Blocks funds from being used to transfer or authorize the transfer of cluster munitions to the Government of Saudi Arabia.

·         Amendment 274: [Lieu (CA), Gallego (AZ)]

o   Requires a report from the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State on the extent to which Saudi Arabia is abiding by its commitments in Yemen, including adherence to the U.S.-provided No Strike List and progress on its targeting capabilities to avoid civilians.

·         Amendment 85: [Burgess (TX), Lee, Barbara (CA), Welch (VT), DeFazio (OR), Schakowsky (IL), Lance (NJ)]

o   Requires a report ranking all military departments and Defense Agencies in order of how advanced they are in achieving auditable financial statements as required by law.

·         Amendment 345: [Lieu (CA), Amash (MI), Lofgren (CA), DelBene (WA), Poe (TX)]

o   Prohibits using funds to mandate or request “backdoors” into commercial products that can be used to circumvent encryption or security protections.

·         Amendment 250: [Cartwright (PA), Lance (NJ)]

o   Requires the relevant agencies covered by the NDAA to submit to Congress comprehensive plans that integrate consideration of extreme weather into each agency’s operations and overall mission objectives. The reports will, inter alia, identify risks to the agencies from extreme weather, describe what systems are currently in place to address the risk of harm from extreme weather, detail what will be done to improve those systems in the future.

·         Amendment 305: [Ellison (MN), Conyers (MI), Lee, Barbara (CA), Jones (NC)]

o   Adds language that clarifies that the bill is not an authorization for the use of military force against Iran.

·         Amendment 306: [Ellison (MN)]

o   Makes military assistance to Egypt contingent on Egypt holding free and fair presidential elections in 2018.

·         Amendment 356: [Moore, Gwen (WI)]

o   Requires the U.S. strategy on Syria to identify State Department and Defense Department funding by year to implement it, to identify the legal authority for U.S. forces in Syria to accomplish military objectives. Requires a separate assessment of how the humanitarian situation in Syria affects the achievement of U.S. goals, including how the U.S. intends to response to the humanitarian crisis including aiding Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons.

·         Amendment 70: [Khanna (CA)]

o   Requires certifications for provision of air-to-ground munitions to countries relating to the Civil War in Yemen. 

·         Amendment 128: [Yoho (FL), Conyers (MI)]

o   No funds may be obligated or expended to transfer man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) to any entity in Syria.

·         Amendment 324: [Sanford (SC), Lee, Barbara (CA)]

o   Codifies criteria developed by OMB in 2010 to clarify when military spending should be designated as contingency operations and properly be part of the Overseas Contingency Operation budget.

·         Amendment 224: [Jackson Lee (TX)]

o   Provides for authorization for $2.5 million increase in funding to combat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

·         Amendment 131: [Conyers (MI), Blumenauer (OR), Norman (SC), Lewis, Jason (MN)]

o   No funds for the B–21 Long Range Strike Bomber engineering and manufacturing development program may be obligated or expended until the Secretary of the Air Force publicly discloses the value of the B–21 engineering and manufacturing development contract award.

·         Amendment 135: [Lynch (MA), Lieu (CA), Welch (VT)]

o   Requires federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, to consider climate change-related impacts in the development of relevant national security policies and doctrines. Establishes an interagency Climate and National Security Working Group, consisting of defense, national security, intelligence, and other agency officials, to identify and address climate change-related impacts on national security.

·         Amendment 158: [Nolan (MN)]

o   Prohibits funding from the Counter-ISIS Train & Equip Fund to recipients that the Secretary of Defense has reported as having misused provided training and equipment.

·         Amendment 331: [Pascrell (NJ), Gallego (AZ)]

o   Prohibits the Secretary of Defense from providing information to the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement regarding any individual who has entered into an enlistment contract under in the Armed Forces through the Military Accessions Viral to the National Interest program unless the Secretary certifies that such an individual poses a threat to national security or public safety.

·         Amendment 178: [Pocan (WI), Gallego (AZ), Correa (CA), Schneider (IL)]

o   Guarantees a process for service members discharged solely because of their sexual orientation to initiate a timely, consistent, and transparent review of their discharge in order to change their record to reflect their honorable service.

·         Amendment 307: [Ellison (MN)]

o   Requires a National Intelligence Estimate on the national security risks created for the United States and the risk created for U.S. military and diplomatic personnel by the Muslim Ban.

·         Amendment 371: [Conaway (TX), Courtney (CT), Jones (NC), Lee, Barbara (CA)]

o   Conforms with the September 30, 2017, audit readiness deadline, this makes changes to the current reporting requirements to reflect the DoD moving into the statutory audit phase. This requires the DoD and armed services to report on audit progress and remediation efforts necessary to reach complete auditability.

·         Amendment 159: [Nolan (MN)]

o   Prohibits the use of funds authorized by this Act to be made available to deploy members of the Armed Forces to Yemen.

·         Amendment 71: [Khanna (CA)]

o   Requires an investigation to take place to determine if the United Arab Emirates and Yemen governments committed war crimes and violated the Geneva Conventions.

·         Amendment 283: [Graves, Garret (LA), McGovern (MA)]

o   Prohibits Foreign Military Sales to the United Arab Emirates until the country has made progress in decreasing the number of United States citizens in debtor prisons.

·         Amendment 199: [Bustos (IL), Gosar (AZ), Loebsack (IA), Jones (NC)]

o   Requires the Secretary of Defense to certify that there is not suitable space in an existing military installation before they buy or lease space valued at over $750k annually.

·         Amendment 309: [Ellison (MN)]

o   Requires contractors to disclose Federal election contributions and expenditures after a contract is awarded.

·         Amendment 132: [Conyers (MI), Gallego (AZ)]

o   Requires a report assessing the relative merits of a multilateral or bilateral Incidents at Sea military-to-military agreement between the United States, the Government of Iran, and other countries operating in the Persian Gulf aimed at preventing accidental naval conflict in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.

·         Amendment 342: [Doggett (TX)]

o   Directs the Department of Defense to authorize third parties to use inventions that benefited from Department funding whenever the price of a drug, vaccine, or other medical technology is higher in the U.S. than the median price charged in the seven largest economies that have a per capita income at least half the per capita income of the U.S.

·         Amendment 32: [Beyer (VA), Trott (MI)]

o   Requires the Secretary of State to impose a visa ban on individuals involved in the attack on peaceful demonstrators by Turkish security forces on May 16th and any such similar attack on demonstrators in the future by any security officials. It would also require the Department of State to produce guidelines on when the United States government requests the revocation of diplomatic immunity. The amendment also requires a report specific to the May 16th incident, including names of personnel involved and steps the Department of State is taking to remedy any security lapses as well as for financial compensation for the victims.

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The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is the largest caucus within the House Democratic Caucus, with over 70 members standing up for progressive ideals in Washington and throughout the country. Since 1991, the CPC has advocated for progressive policies that prioritize working Americans over corporate interests, fight economic and social inequality, and promote civil liberties. The CPC champions progressive policy solutions like comprehensive immigration reform, a $15 national minimum wage, fair trade, gun violence reform, debt-free college, and making the federal government a Model Employer.

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