After Securing Vote to Prevent Unconstitutional War with Iran, Carper Votes to Approve Defense Funding for FY 2020

Final legislation includes important Delaware, environmental priorities


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee and a senior Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), released the following statement after voting to approve the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Among other key priorities for Delaware, the final bill authorizes $21 million for a new 300-member training center for Army Reservists in Newark. The legislation also includes bipartisan provisions that Senator Carper secured to address the risks and challenges associated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). 

Senator Carper also successfully pushed to hold a vote on his bipartisan amendment with Senator Udall – the Preventing Unconstitutional War with Iran Act – in order to prevent President Trump from taking military action against Iran without the approval of Congress.

“The Senate has come together to approve this year’s critically important National Defense Authorization Act, which ensures that our troops have the resources necessary to help keep our country and our citizens safe. This final bill makes important investments to support the men and women serving in our Armed Forces, strengthen our military capabilities, bolster our nation’s cyber defenses, and counter the ever-evolving threats to our national security. I’m proud that this bill also authorizes $21 million for a new Army Reserve Center in Newark – funding I’m proud to have worked alongside Senators Coons to secure.

“The bill we approved today also includes environmental wins. The provisions we were able to secure in this legislation will improve both the federal government’s understanding of and response to PFAS contamination. The Department of Defense’s use of firefighting foam containing PFAS is a significant source of this contamination. The use of these chemicals in firefighting foam has undoubtedly saved lives, but the cruel irony is that those same life-saving chemicals can endanger lives when they wind up in a glass of drinking water. While the provisions we include in this package are an important start, I am disappointed that we were unable to successfully include the legislation I introduced with Senator Capito that would designate PFAS as hazardous substances under the Superfund law, and I will continue to fight to ensure that important measure is enacted into law.

Finally, before we took up this bill in the Senate, I reminded my colleagues that it would be irresponsible to authorize defense funding for the coming year without taking a vote on the most pressing defense issue facing our country – escalating tensions with Iran and President Trump’s moves toward war. I am pleased that my colleagues and I were ultimately able to secure a vote on my bipartisan amendment with Senator Udall that would prevent the Trump Administration from taking military action against Iran without the approval of Congress. The Senate must not simply abandon our constitutional responsibility and let the Executive Branch launch us into yet another military conflict in the Middle East and put American lives at risk without explicit congressional approval. I remain hopeful that, with each day, as the Trump Administration’s posture towards Iran grows ever more dangerous, more of my colleagues will join us to assert our Article I authority and prevent an unconstitutional war with Iran.”