WASHINGTON –U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, issued the following statement after the Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes funding for the U.S. Department of Defense. The Senate approved the legislation today by a vote of 83-15.
“Today, I voted to approve an important piece of legislation, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which is critical to ensuring that our troops have the resources necessary to help keep our country and our citizens safe. This year’s 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 ever-evolving threats to our national security.
“While there are many provisions in this bill that will help to address our country’s security challenges, I am disappointed that several commonsense measures that passed out of our committee on a bipartisan basis were not included in the final package. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Accountability Act would help to bring more cohesion to the department, ensuring that its 22 component agencies are working more closely together and better coordinating their efforts. That same bill also would have authorized a new office within DHS to counter violent extremism and combat terrorist groups' efforts to radicalize and recruit American citizens. Additionally, I would have liked to see the inclusion of an amendment I authored with my colleague Senator Leahy that would require DHS to help local communities develop strategic plans to respond to active shooter and mass casualty incidents in public spaces.
“In light of the tragic attack that unfolded in Orlando over the weekend, it is now more important than ever that we in Congress—Democrats and Republicans alike—come together and develop thoughtful solutions to our security challenges. The provisions included in the NDAA are by no means a comprehensive solution to addressing the threats our nation faces, but they are steps in the right direction. As we continue the appropriations process, I urge my colleagues to work productively to ensure that our service members on the front lines and law enforcement here at home have the necessary resources to combat the threats we face.”