Langevin Votes to Prevent War With Iran, Pass National Defense Authorization Act

Jul 12, 2019 Issues: Armed Services, Budget

WASHINGTON – Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities, issued the following statement after voting in favor of H.R. 2500, the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which passed the House of Representatives today by a vote of 220-197. Langevin voted to advance the bill out of the House Armed Services Committee in June.

“This year’s defense authorization provides funding for a strong national defense strategy that advances American interests at home and abroad. It includes a 3.1 percent pay raise for our service members, numerous provisions to support military families such as a repeal of the ‘Widow’s Tax’, and key investments to bolster our nation’s defense capabilities. In particular, the procurement of an additional Virginia-class submarine, to be manufactured in part at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Quonset Point, will help support Rhode Island’s robust defense industrial sector.                                                                                         

“During floor consideration, I supported Representative Ro Khanna’s amendment to make clear that there is no existing authorization for the President to go to war with Iran. The President’s reckless actions, especially his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement, have escalated tensions with the Iranian regime. Today’s vote makes clear that the President cannot initiate a war unilaterally as that power is reserved to Congress in the Constitution. I hope the amendment’s passage will also serve to help smooth the path to diplomatic reengagement with Iran.

“I authored several amendments to improve the NDAA, all of which were adopted. I’m particularly pleased that my amendment requiring that the Trump Administration provide Congress with its new procedures governing military cyber operations was among them. My colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee and I have asked for this information for months, yet the White House has ignored our numerous requests. Congress must be able to exercise its oversight authority over sensitive cyber operations, and it is extremely disappointing that the Administration’s updated policies have not been shared with us.

“I was grateful to have the support of my colleagues on two other key amendments. My amendment ensuring that the Department of Defense will track cybersecurity metrics when examining the quality of software it procures under new expedited authorities will help reduce the vulnerability of military systems. Another amendment will advance nuclear nonproliferation goals by increasing funding for a Navy research and development program focused on determining the viability of low-enriched uranium for use as naval reactor fuel.

“This NDAA is a strong bill, and I was proud to support it. I am disappointed, however, that my Republican colleagues failed to live up to the NDAA’s bipartisan legacy. Republicans have decried it as underfunding the military, but I fundamentally disagree. Our military is the finest in the world, but there must be accountability and the Department of Defense must live within its means. I commend Chairman Smith for striking an appropriate balance with this NDAA, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to resolve our differences.”