Citing “accountability,” the California congresswoman voted against a bill which provided hundreds of millions in defense aid for Ukraine and America’s other close allies.
Congresswoman Katie Porter (D – CA 45th District) voted no on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022, which provided over $300 million in military aid to Ukraine.
Porter’s vote came last December, before the Russian invasion of Ukraine broke out, but during a period in which tensions in the region were already dangerously heightened. Despite Porter’s opposition, the NDAA was ultimately passed by a strong bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives, with 84% of congresspeople voting yes.
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 was the latest in a long series of such bills, passed yearly by Congress, which allocate funding for the military. While there is typically debate over the provisions of the annual NDAA, its passage is a matter of routine in Washington.
Porter cited “accountability at the Pentagon” as the reason for her vote. She said in a statement that she voted against the Act because the final version did not contain certain amendments which she supported. However, Porter acknowledged that several of her proposed amendments, including those related to Pentagon transparency, were included in the final bill.
In addition to providing $300 million in aid to the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, the 2022 NDAA provided $4 billion for the European Defense Initiative, and $150 million for security cooperation with the Baltic states.
Outside of Europe, the bill included a statement of support for Taiwan, and over $7 billion for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative. In recent years, Taiwan has been subject to increasingly aggressive rhetoric from its neighbor China, much as Ukraine was in the leadup to the 2022 invasion by Russia.
The bill also contained a provision designed to protect the human rights of Uyghur Muslims in in the Xinjiang Region of China, banning the Department of Defense from buying products made by forced labor in Xinjiang.
Overall, the 2022 NDAA authorized $770 billion in defense spending.
It remains unclear whether Congresswoman Porter will support the upcoming NDAA for Fiscal Year 2023, which will likely include further military support for Ukraine and other American allies.