VIDEO: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Votes Against Committing U.S. To War in Syria
‘Train and equip’ provision buried in the bill, no opportunity for debate or standalone vote
Washington, DC – Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today voted against the House-Senate compromise for the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 (NDAA), citing serious concerns about the inclusion of a provision to train and equip so-called moderate Syrian rebels for the next two years and the lack of a vote or debate on that provision.
Yesterday, Congresswoman Gabbard joined a bipartisan amendment to remove this provision before the NDAA came to a vote on the House floor, and also joined a bipartisan letter to Speaker John Boehner calling for debate and a standalone vote on the provision.
“Our troops, our country, and our communities deserve far better than the defense bill that passed today. The hidden provision in the amended HR 3979 to authorize training and arming of the so-called moderate Syrian rebels for the next two years, with no limits on how much money can be spent, has seriously polluted this critical legislation. I could not in good conscience vote to support so-called moderate forces who often work hand-in-hand with al-Qaida and ISIS, and whose personnel and weapons often end up in the hands of those terrorists. Just a few days ago, the Associated Press reported, 'Notably, in the south, the rebels are working together with fighters from al-Qaida's Syria branch.'"
"Furthermore, this bill continues the same failed policies of undeclared war, regime change, and nation building that have had us mired in the Middle East for over a decade. Because there was no standalone vote or debate allowed on this important provision, the American people have been deprived of their right to make a decision about whether or not we are going to war against Syria,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a twice-deployed combat veteran and current captain in the Hawai‘i Army National Guard.
Congresswoman Gabbard spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives today to again highlight her concerns. Video of the speech is available here.
In September 2014, Congresswoman Gabbard voted against an amendment to a funding bill that allowed for the training and equipping of Syrian rebels and later voted against the underlying funding bill that included the amendment.