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Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 6395 - Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 6395, the [William M. (Mac) Thornberry] National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021

December 08, 2020

STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY

(House)
(Rep. Smith, D-WA and 1 cosponsors)

The Administration recognizes the importance of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to our national security. Unfortunately, this conference report fails to include critical national security measures, includes provisions that fail to respect our veterans and our military's history, and contradicts efforts by this Administration to put America first in our national security and foreign policy actions. Therefore, the Administration strongly opposes passage of the conference report to Accompany H.R. 6395.

Despite bipartisan calls for addressing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, this bill fails to make any meaningful changes to that provision. Section 230 facilitates the spread of disinformation online and is a serious threat to our national security and election integrity. It should be repealed. The conference report also fails to include language codifying the Women's Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative. To date, this historic initiative has generated life-changing effects for women around the world, and the Administration strongly supports its codification into the official mission of the Department of State to ensure its critical work continues in the future.

The conference report includes language sponsored by Senator Elizabeth Warren that would require the renaming of certain military installations. Over the course of United States history, these locations have taken on significance to the American story and those who have helped write it that far transcends their namesakes. The Administration respects the legacy of the millions of American servicemen and women who have served with honor at these military bases, and who, from these locations, have fought, bled, and died for their country. President Trump has been clear in his opposition to politically motivated attempts like this to rewrite history and to displace the enduring legacy of the American Revolution in service of a new left-wing cultural revolution.

The conference report also restricts the President's ability to preserve our Nation's security by arbitrarily limiting the amount of military construction funds that can be used to respond to a national emergency. In a time when adversaries have the means to directly attack the homeland, the President must be able to safeguard the American people without having to wait for congressional authorization.

Numerous provisions of this conference report directly contradict the Administration's foreign policy, particularly the President's efforts to bring our troops home. The President – and the American people – oppose endless wars. Over bipartisan objections, however, this bill purports to restrict the President's ability to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, Germany, and South Korea. The conference report also undermines critical, bipartisan reforms to the United States Agency for Global Media and hamstrings the agency's newly confirmed CEO. Additionally, the legislation eliminates the Department of Defense Chief Management Officer, who is responsible for increasing efficiency and reducing waste at the Department of Defense. And it increases bureaucracy and confuses cybersecurity policymaking by mandating the appointment of a National Cyber Director within the Executive Office of the President, ignoring the mechanisms by which the Government already performs the functions assigned to this new policy position. The Administration strongly opposes these and other provisions that put the interests of the Washington, D.C. establishment over those of the American people.

The Administration stands ready to work with Congress on an improved NDAA, or to separately enact critically important provisions of this bill, such as a pay raise for our troops and the renewal of expiring authorities, through the appropriations process. The Administration also does not waive potential objections to additional, individual provisions of the NDAA not specifically addressed in this statement.

If the conference report to H.R. 6395 were presented to the President, his advisors would recommend he veto it.

Donald J. Trump, Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 6395 - Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 6395, the [William M. (Mac) Thornberry] National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/347238

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