Much as Tea Party Republicans played with fire to take symbolic votes against raising the debt ceiling in the 2010’s, at the risk of tanking our economy, some MA members of Congress did the same with the recent NDAA reauthorization and voted with the likes of Josh Hawley to sustain Trump’s veto. It’s sadly unsurprising that a routine bipartisan bill that literally funds our troops, gives them long overdue raises and hazard pay, and finally removed the names of Confederate generals from American bases was vetoed by this spiteful lame duck president. What is more surprising is the number of local progressive leaders who voted to sustain Trump’s veto.
It also included landmark amendments protecting veterans from sexual assault, providing PPE for all DoD workers including civilian VA nurses and doctors, and vaccine distribution. This was a critical bipartisan Bill that could not be amended in this session of Congress. Had Trumps veto been sustained, it would have led to a needless shutdown of the DOD and the various entities affiliated with it.
There are valid progressive reasons to criticize the DOD procurement process and elements of the NDAA that run afoul of a progressive foreign policy, but the time to make those criticisms was during the amendment process to the initial legislation. I might add Sen. Warren herself has done this in the past and also this year was the key leader in getting those bases renamed. Which is why it’s all the more surprising she voted to sustain Trump’s veto which was largely because of her own amendment to this very bill.
Perhaps with a Democratic Senate, better priorities can be put into next years law. Instead, usually reasonable people like Sen. Markey, Sen. Warren, Rep. Pressley, Rep. Kennedy, and Rep. McGovern sided with President Trump and against Democratic leaders like Sen. Jack Reed and President-elect Biden who demanded a quick passage of this critical funding bill. I am left wondering why.