House Vote to Pass NDAA Violates GOP’s 2010 Pledge to America

House Vote to Pass NDAA Violates GOP’s 2010 Pledge to America

Republican House members who voted to pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) broke the 2010 GOP Pledge to America. 

Under a section entitled “Read the Bill” in the Pledge to America that Republicans penned up in 2010, the GOP promised: 

We will ensure that bills are debated and discussed in the public square by publishing the text online for at least three days before coming up for a vote in the House of Representatives. No more hiding legislative language from the minority party, opponents, and the public. Legislation should be understood by all interested parties before it is voted on.

Nevertheless, the 1,648-page NDAA was voted on in the the GOP-majority House on Dec. 4, less than two days after the final text of the bill was posted online on Dec. 2 at 10:32 pm. The NDAA passed the House by a largely bipartisan vote of 300 to 119

There were 32 Republicans who voted against the bill. Meanwhile, there were 194 Republicans who voted in favor of passing the NDAA. The Republican-controlled House required the help of 106 Democrats to pass the defense authorization act. 

In the pledge, under a section titled, “Advance Legislative Issues One at a Time,” Republicans promised to “end the practice of packaging unpopular bills with ‘must-pass’ legislation to circumvent the will of the American people. Instead, we will advance major legislation one issue at a time.” 

Yet, an unrelated public lands package that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) called a “disservice to members of the Armed Forces” was attached to the NDAA, which is considered “must-pass” legislation.

According to Sen. Cruz, the “extreme land grab” provisions in the NDAA, include: “250,000 acres of new wilderness designations” and a “study to begin the National Women’s History Museum.” 

Incoming GOP Senator Rep. James Lankford  (R-OK) told Slate that the move to the include the expansion of federal lands in the NDAA does violate the 2010 pledge. 

“It’s just ridiculous,” he added. 

Nevertheless, Lankford, Oklahoma’s next Senator-elect, voted in favor of passing the NDAA in the House. 

On Dec. 4, a few hours before the House voted to pass the NDAA,’s Penny Starr asked Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) whether or not he had read the 1,648-page bill. 

“I’ve been through almost every part of that bill, as it was being put together. So, trust me, I am well aware of what’s in that bill,” responded Boehner. 

Republicans took over the House in 2010 after making the Pledge to America, promising to advance conservative values and pledging “to make government more transparent in its actions, careful in its stewardship, and honest in its dealings,” among other things.  

GOP lawmakers broke the pledge before the NDAA was passed by the House on Dec. 4. 

The NDAA clears about $577 billion in spending for fiscal 2015, including nearly $496 billion for base Pentagon programs, about $64 billion for U.S. combat operations abroad, including an estimated $5 billion for the anti-Islamic State mission in Iraq and Syria.  

It also authorizes $17.5 billion for the defense activities of the Department of Energy and the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.


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