Press Release

Welch: I cannot support a defense bill that fails to rein in our unbalanced military spending

Dec 13, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C.Sen. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) released the following statement on the Senate’s passage of the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA):

“I am grateful every day for the sacrifices our servicemembers and their families make, including those in Vermont and those defending our freedom across the world. I am encouraged the NDAA contains bipartisan priorities I led, including policies to support employee-led business partnerships with the Department of Defense, and more accountability for veterans who have suffered from service-related medical complications as a result of toxic burn pits. But I have long been concerned about the disparities between domestic and defense spending and ultimately, I cannot support a defense bill that fails to rein in our unbalanced military spending.” said Sen. Welch. “It’s time we get smart about reducing our military spending and ensuring Vermonters’ tax dollars are going to programs that complement America’s larger foreign policy goals.”

The Fiscal Year 2024 NDAA included policies championed by Sen. Welch, including provisions: 

  • Bolstering a Department of Defense Pilot Program Supporting Employee-Owned Businesses: The package extends an existing pilot program to incentivize contracting with employee-owned businesses and enhances the incentives for companies to become 100% ESOPs. The legislation also ensures all DOD customers can utilize the pilot program, including for contracts awarded on behalf of DOD by the Government Services Administration.
  • Protecting Servicemembers from Exposure to Toxic Substances: The package includes a version of the Senator’s bipartisan amendment, building upon the Honoring our PACT Act, requiring the Secretary of Defense to brief Congress on DOD’s efforts to explore incinerators and waste-to-energy disposal alternatives to open air burn pits. Several types of illness and cancers are linked to burn pits (the open air burning of waste and trash) and other toxic airborne exposures.