“YES” on Coburn Motion to Remove Lands Package from NDAA

Today, Senators will vote on a motion to refer the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 3979) back to the committee.  The motion, which will be made by  Sen. Tom Coburn, would instruct the Senate Armed Services Committee to remove the 450-page lands package that was inserted into the NDAA behind closed doors.

Heritage Action’s Michael A. Needham and The Heritage Foundation’s Steven Bucci, a former Pentagon official who oversees defense policy, explained:

“Undermining policies that are literally life-and-death is not in our nation’s interest, but that is the path this Congress is preparing to take.  Congress has successfully passed the NDAA every year for the past half century, overcoming ideological divides in order to appropriately authorize and prioritize defense measures needed to defend the United States. That trend should continue. That means treating the NDAA with the seriousness that it deserves, not as a legislative Christmas tree for Congress to ornament with unrelated pet projects.”

In a letter to Congress, groups such as Concerned Women for America, Eagle Forum and March for Life Action made the following argument: 

“Further, this lands deal package includes creating a commission to study building a women’s history museum.  Every indication points to the museum including exhibits that would in fact be offensive to military members. For example, the current National Women’s History Museum website glorifies Bella Abzug, who worked to drastically reduce military spending and said, ‘I am not being facetious when I say that the real enemies in this country are the Pentagon and its pals in big business.'”

According to Heritage’s Nick Loris, the massive land grab – 250,000 acres of new federal land and expansion of 16 National Heritage Areas – moves policy in the wrong direction:

“These provisions would lead to more government ownership of America’s land and more restrictive land-use policies that prohibit energy development and economic activity. Does Congress really need to add to the federal estate when the feds already own 640 million acres of land, approaching one-third the total area of the United States? Congress should be transferring more responsibility to the states and private owners, not taking more land away from them.  Doing so would allow for energy production and more economic activity.”

Heritage Action supports Coburn’s motion and will include it as a key vote on the legislative scorecard.