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Rep. Clyde statement on the passage of the FY22 National Defense Authorization Act

Contact: Claire Hurley

Congressman Andrew Clyde (GA-09) released the following statement pursuant to the House of Representatives vote on H.R. 4350, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022”:

"Article I Section 8 of our Constitution lays out the explicit duties of Congress, foremost of which is to “provide for the common Defense” of our Nation. Each year Congress fulfills this duty through the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). As a 28-year, three combat tour, Navy Veteran, I believe funding, equipping, and supporting our military is of the utmost importance to the security of our great Nation.

Most notably, the House-passed Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) NDAA makes critical improvements to President Biden’s FY22 Department of Defense (DoD) and national security budget requests as it reverses the President’s ill-advised cuts to top-line funding for our troops that didn’t even begin to account for inflation. In addition to securing funding required to counter current and future threats, H.R. 4350 grants a 2.7% pay increase to our servicemembers, provides an honorable discharge for servicemembers who refuse a COVID-19 vaccination, and makes historic investments in future warfighter technologies, including in the realms of artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and hypersonic and autonomous vehicles. H.R. 4350 also requires the Pentagon to report to Congress on the security situation in Afghanistan and the ramifications of leaving behind biometric technologies and military equipment in the hands of the Taliban. Finally, H.R. 4350 takes the critically important first step of identifying and removing Communist China-sourced materials from all aspects of the DoD supply chain.

I commend my colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee for their deliberations with the majority party in crafting H.R. 4350 and for securing many victories. However, the Democrats in control chose to incorporate a provision that would force daughters, sisters, and moms across the country to register for the draft. While I cosponsored two amendments to strike this language from the bill, Democrats on the House Rules Committee blocked both amendments from coming to the House floor to provide Members the opportunity to vote their conscience on this issue. Women have played a very valuable role in our Armed Forces since the founding of this country, but I find it unconscionable that this body would enact a provision, without even engaging in debate, to force women into a position where they could be called at random, to report for duty, before all registered males have been called. This applies regardless of if they have children, have a spouse already in service, or are called to combat through the draft.

The family unit has always, and will continue, to play a critical role in forming the posterity of our Nation, and it is imperative that we strive to preserve it to the extent within our power to do so. With the success of our completely volunteer force over the last 40 years, this policy of drafting our daughters is completely unnecessary and wrong on its face.

I am also deeply concerned about language in H.R. 4350 that would shred the Second Amendment by violating the due process rights of our service members. It would establish the equivalent of a “red flag law” for our military members who fight to preserve those very rights for all of us. This bill also contains language that would create an office with a political appointee to counter “extremism” within our military. The definition and interpretation of the term “extremism” is delegated to the Secretary of Defense to determine and enforce. Congress should decide and debate such definitions, not divest such powers to the Executive Branch, especially when a definition has the power to determine who can and cannot serve in the military. This would create a powerful office capable of abusing servicemembers' sincerely held religious, personal, and political beliefs which are fundamentally protected by the First Amendment. It is the beliefs we most disagree with that are most strongly protected by the Constitution.

Again, I applaud the work of my Republican colleagues to bring an NDAA to the House floor that would support the men and women of our armed services to the best degree that we in the Minority are able. However, considering the egregious Democrat policies outlined above, just to name a few, I was not able to support H.R. 4350 in its current form. It is my sincere hope when the House and Senate come together to iron out the differences between their respective NDAA bills that these partisan policies are eliminated, and I am able to lend my full support."

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