Hoffman calls out both Bookers for silence on the NDAA
By Madelyn Hoffman
December 23, 2019
On December 17th, the U.S. Senate, by a vote of 86-8, passed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This bill increases the military budget to an obscene $738 billion. Senator Cory Booker did not vote. Neither did Senators Harris, Klobuchar, Sanders or Warren. How can presidential candidate Booker speak out in a national interview exactly one month ago today about the need to contain military spending and executive power in declaring war and then not vote on the NDAA which both increases military spending and fails to rein in executive power? This is unacceptable -- New Jersey is the loser here.
The military budget accounts for well more than half of the funds the U.S. Congress can decide how to spend. It robs money from education, infrastructure, housing, battling climate change, addressing water contamination problems such as those that exist in Newark and other much-needed community programs! This version of the bill passed the House last week by a vote of 377 - 45 -- only 2 Republicans and 43 Democrats opposed it. But most importantly, the bill was stripped of virtually all limits the original version on the bill placed on the Commander-in-Chief -- limits that didn't make the bill good -- but without them allows for an unauthorized war with Iran, provides continued support for the brutal Saudi-led war in Yemen, does not return the power to declare war to the U.S. Congress and allows for 'low-yield' nuclear weapons to be controlled by the president.
Where was Senator Cory Booker's leadership on this vote? Why didn't he take a stand either way -- for or against? Not voting means his vote can't be challenged by anyone, not in the presidential race or here at home as he runs for U.S. Senate. As a presidential candidate, he told the Military Times that he pledged to end U.S. support for endless war in Yemen and that he would return the power to declare war to the U.S. Congress. He promised that on Day One of his presidency, he would reverse the ban on transgender service members serving in the military. A vote as Senator against this version of the NDAA would have strengthened his position. Not voting and issuing a statement to this effect would have done the same. But simply not voting?
This is why I am running against Senator Booker as a Green Party candidate. The Green Party is the only anti-war party and we will provide leadership to end these wars, return the power to declare war to the U.S. Congress, end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war on Yemen, support continued diplomacy instead of war with Iran, and allow transgender service members in the military. Most importantly, we would challenge the U.S. Congress to cut the military budget and to implement a REAL Green New Deal. The U.S. military is the world's biggest polluter, so must be confronted if any Green New Deal expects to succeed.
This is why we challenge his ability to run for both U.S. Senate and U.S. president at the same time. On this issue, as on all others, which Cory Booker will we see, the one of presidential campaign promises or the lasting legacy of what he does as U.S. Senator? As U.S. Senator, the peace movement ultimately succeeded in obtaining his support for the Iran Deal. Since then he backed off his support for it--but we need to know if he supports an unauthorized war on Iran or the development of so-called low-yield nuclear weapons, or development of a new branch of the military, a Space Force?
As a U.S. Senator, I would take leadership on issues of war and peace. I would stand firmly against continued increases in the military budget, and for redirecting into programs that our communities need. I would oppose continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia and support the U.S. Congress vote to end U.S. involvement in that illegal war. I would oppose any war against Iran, call for an end to the development of nuclear weapons as part of the U.S. responsibility under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. I would support repeal of the 2002 Authorization to Utilize Military Force to return the power to declare war to the U.S. Congress as the U.S. Constitution provides. And I certainly wouldn't support the development of a Space Force -- which not only further militarizes our world, but encourages a new arms race, this time in space. And when I say I'm committed to using diplomacy to resolve international conflict, I mean it.
Senator Booker, I challenge you to a debate so we can all learn where you stand on these crucial issues.
Madelyn Hoffman is the Green Party of New Jersey's candidate for U.S. Senate in 2020.
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