Sen. Cruz fights for religious freedom, domestic military bases, strong national missile defense
POSTED: Monday, June 17, 2013 - 9:42am
UPDATED: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - 4:11pm
Passes important amendments in NDAA markup
Office of Ted Cruz — U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) last week participated in the Senate Armed Services Committee’s consideration of the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). He introduced three amendments that were adopted by the committee. Together, the Cruz amendments will protect the religious freedoms of servicemen and women, require the Pentagon to prioritize domestic military bases over foreign bases during any potential future Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, expand free and fair competition for military contracts, and enhance U.S. missile defense capabilities to protect all Americans.
“I am thankful for the support of my colleagues in passing amendments that are important to the State of Texas and the entire country, prioritizing the needs of our servicemen and women who daily sacrifice their lives to promote and defend our nation’s freedom,” Sen. Cruz said. “As this legislation is debated before the full Senate, I will work to ensure these measures are prioritized and included in final legislation.”
The Senator’s adopted amendments, if passed by the full Senate and adopted into law, will:
Strengthen existing law to protect the rights of conscience of military servicemembers and protect troops who express their religious faith appropriately so that they are not discriminated against or subject to retaliation. The Lee-Cruz Amendment passed 19-7. All 12 Republicans on the committee supported the amendment, along with 7 Democrats. Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) has introduced a corresponding amendment in the House, which prompted a veto threat from the Obama White House.
Instruct the Defense Department Inspector General to investigate reports of religious discrimination against troops' sharing their faith and also investigate any undue influence outside groups may have in creating Pentagon policy on religious matters. The amendment will also mandate an anonymous survey to determine whether the Pentagon is preventing chaplains from doing their jobs or trying to force chaplains to perform actions that violate their conscience. The amendment passed committee by voice vote.
Prohibit the Pentagon from closing any domestic military installations without first doing a full review of foreign installations. This bipartisan amendment was cosponsored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and adopted by voice vote.
- Direct the Missile Defense Agency to implement the recommendations of a 1998 study on missile defense and study the potential threat of missiles launched at the United States from southern land-based sites or from ships in the Gulf of Mexico. Senator Cruz strongly believes we must do everything possible to ensure that all Americans are protected from ballistic missile threats. This amendment was adopted by voice vote.
Additionally, Sen. Cruz offered proposals that were included in the NDAA prior to markup, including a measure that would allow a full and open competition for Army radios, and an amendment that will improve physical security at Army bases by forcing the Pentagon to consider proven methods to keep intruders off our installations.
Ultimately, Sen. Cruz voted “no” on the committee’s final bill, citing its failure to address the defense sequester and the 2012 NDAA, which allows for the indefinite detention of American citizens without trial.
“I was not able to in good conscience vote for the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act in committee. The language of the 2012 NDAA, carried over into the 2014 bill, represents an intolerable infringement of the Constitutional rights of American citizens. Nothing in the Constitution allows the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil, and yet this bill perpetuates that purported authority. We must protect the Due Process rights of every American."
"Also, the current NDAA ignores sequestration, instead budgeting as if the baseline were $27 billion higher than it is. Rather than sensibly adjusting the prioritization of resources, this bill leaves the Pentagon subject to indiscriminate, across-the-board cuts to the Defense budget. I cannot support ignoring sequestration."
"I am hopeful that both of these issues will be addressed when the 2014 NDAA comes to a full vote in the Senate.”