Washington (December 15, 2022) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement on his vote against the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2023:

“This bill authorizes a whopping $857 billion for defense spending next year, $45 billion more than the President requested and many billions more than Congress has invested in addressing many of the biggest security concerns facing the American people—such as climate change, the opioid epidemic, poverty, hunger, and disease. Instead, it doubles down on the failed approach of pouring money into a bloated, inefficient, and sometimes counterproductive national security machine underwritten by an army of lobbyists and gold-plated contractors that fails to deliver on the needs of the American people. I simply cannot support it.”

“While I am glad this bill includes substantive funding to help the brave people of Ukraine defend their home, and for Taiwan to improve its self-defense, we cannot continue to balloon our military budget at the expense of diplomacy and domestic priorities. We need to seriously address the fundamental drivers of today’s greatest challenges, not just recklessly pile ever-more money into the Pentagon, which has failed five audits in a row and is unable to account for more than half the money it spends.”

Senator Markey offered an amendment to the NDAA to cut just 1 percent of this proposed budget – $8.5 billion dollars – and transfer those funds to international climate financing. That amendment was not allowed a vote on the floor.

Specifically, Senator Markey voted “No” on the NDAA for fiscal year 2023 due to his concerns regarding:

  • The lack of attention in the bill to the real security threats Americans face, including climate change, substance abuse, poverty, gun violence, and disease;
  • The need to achieve greater balance between diplomatic and economic investments compared to military investments;
  • Provisions forcing the U.S. to retain a program for a brand-new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the Sentinel. As former Defense Secretary Bill Perry recognizes, this weapon is not only redundant, it is risky. It has a high risk of accidental use, is less reliable than other methods of launching nuclear attacks, and costs well over $100 billion dollars; and
  • A new nuclear-armed submarine launched cruise missile (SLCM-N) funded in this bill over President Biden and Defense Secretary Austin’s opposition. This missile fails to add any new capabilities to the existing U.S. arsenal, while at the same time making nuclear use more likely, as it dangerously blurs the lines between conventional and nuclear capabilities.