October 1, 2015
Contact: Dan Weber
Edwards Statement Opposing Budget Gimmicks in the National Defense Authorization Act Conference Report
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (MD-4) issued the following statement opposing the Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2016, which passed 270-156.  Rep. Edwards was appointed as a conferee and worked for a bipartisan and bicameral compromise that President Obama could sign and that supports our defense and cyber communities in Maryland. 
“When will the Republican majority put an end to the gimmicks and lack of serious governing?  After they did the bare minimum to avoid a federal government shutdown only by ensuring another crisis in just two and a half months, today we faced a severely flawed and partisan National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Report. The final report includes $89.2 billion in discretionary budget authority for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), which is $38.3 billion over the Administration’s request.  Adding this additional funding through the OCO is a tactic by Republicans to increase Department of Defense (DoD) spending above sequester levels, while keeping non-defense discretionary spending under the sequester cap.  It is shameful that House Republicans made what has been historically a bipartisan bill for the past 53 years into a partisan issue that Democrats opposed and President Obama promises to veto. 
“As a conferee appointed by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA-12), it is unfortunate that I was unable to support this legislation.  In addition to the glaring error above, Republicans also rejected provisions I advocated for, including resources to improve transportation infrastructure around installations impacted by the BRAC process and to allow military service members involved in national defense information networks to obtain industry-recognized credentials related to cyber security, both of which are vitally important to Maryland.  
“Instead of this partisan and flawed conference report, Republicans should join with Democrats to remove the arbitrary and harmful sequester on both defense and non-defense spending through a fair and thoughtful approach.  Our military service members, their families, and the American people deserve better.”