Biden VP Pick Kamala Harris Voiced Support for Defunding the Pentagon in July

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing to examine Department of Homeland Security personnel deployments to recent protests on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, in Washington. (Alex Wong/Pool via AP)
Alex Wong via AP

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who was tapped Tuesday as former Vice President Joe Biden’s vice presidential pick for 2020, recently voiced support for defunding the Pentagon.

In July, she stopped short of backing an amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to defund the Pentagon by ten percent in 2021, but said in a statement afterwards that she “unequivocally” agreed with the goal to reduce the defense budget, and she remained supportive of the effort:

I applaud Senator Sanders and am grateful for all the work that he’s done on this amendment. I unequivocally agree with the goal of reducing the defense budget and redirecting funding to communities in need, but it must be done strategically. I remain supportive of the effort, and am hopeful that with the benefit of additional time, future efforts will more specifically address these complicated issues and earn my enthusiastic support.

Harris then joined 13 other Senators in voting against the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, which authorizes Pentagon spending and activities, as well as troop pay.

She said in a statement:

I am thankful for all the work negotiators did to this point, however, I voted no because Californians demand better. I could not vote for a bill that provides backdoor funding for Trump’s border wall, clears a pathway to testing a nuclear weapon for the first time in decades, and does not adequately address the scourge of sexual assault in the military. And I could not back this bill after Republicans refused to include our amendments to demilitarize police departments.

President Trump said Tuesday about Harris during a press conference, “She’s a big slasher of funds for our military.”

Harris either missed or voted against the two previous National Defense Authorization Act bills.

She missed the vote on the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act on June 27, 2019, and voted against the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, along with nine other senators.

The last NDAA she voted for was 2018, when she said, “This bill ensures our brave service members have the equipment, support, and benefits required to defend our nation, and improves military readiness, capacity, and modernization.”

The Council on Foreign Relations’ candidate tracker noted that Harris has voted against increasing defense spending.

Politico also listed Harris as among 2020 Democrat presidential candidates who are “doves with long track records of advocating deep cuts in the Pentagon budget in order to pay for what they consider more important domestic programs or diplomatic initiatives.”

Biden has also voiced support for reducing Pentagon funding. He told the Washington Post, “We can maintain a strong defense and protect our safety and security for less.”

Trump has boosted defense spending and restored military readiness after more than a decade of deep cuts during the Obama administration.

 

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