Defense Bill: Tough on China; Holds Biden Administration Accountable for Afghanistan Failures
WASHINGTON, D.C. – While authorizing funding for our national defense, the FY2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) also contains several provisions that get tough on China and hold the Biden Administration accountable for its failures in Afghanistan.
Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler supported the bill which passed the House 316-113.
“We must get our people out of Afghanistan,” said Hartzler. “This legislation begins to address President Biden’s failures by including $250 million in crucial funding to help get Americans out of what is now a terrorist-controlled country. This measure also demands accountability from the Administration and ensures that this foreign policy disaster does not get swept under the rug.”
“The Biden Administration effectively equipped the Taliban with billions of dollars worth of military equipment which allowed the terrorist group to quickly assume power. It is critical for Congress to conduct oversight on what happened and understand the counterterrorism strategy going forward,” added Hartzler.
Accountability in the bill starts with Hartzler’s two amendments that require the Department of Defense (DoD) to brief Congress on its strategic decision to leave Bagram Air Base and to provide information on why U.S. contractor maintenance support was pulled for the Afghan Air Force. The legislation also includes over twenty provisions addressing Afghan withdrawal, including requiring the DoD to submit a plan to Congress on how it will support evacuation of American citizens, maintain air superiority in the evacuation, conduct surveillance and reconnaissance missions, and carry out counterterrorism operations. It further demands from the DoD the number of Americans left behind in Afghanistan, information on those who are being held by the Taliban, lists of military vehicles and hardware that are now in enemy hands, and information on Taliban financial assets.
“You would think that this information would be readily available for Congress, but competency and transparency are certainly not strong suits in this Administration,” added Hartzler.
The NDAA also focuses on the growing threat of China, providing nearly $7 billion in deterrence funding for ships, submarines, projection forces and other technologies capable of penetrating and surviving contested environments. The legislation further strengthens supply chain independence by prohibiting the DoD to acquire certain Chinese technologies and further establishes American policy to protect Taiwan from Chinese aggression.
“The Chinese threat is real, and I have been a staunch advocate of a tough, no-nonsense policy in the Pacific,” said Hartzler. “This bill takes nothing for granted when it comes to countering Chinese threats, and these provisions reflect this. However, we cannot stop here. Preparing for a surging Chinese threat must be a priority of our military and it must continue to be reflected in our defense budget.”