Rep. Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.) voted against the $738 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and asked why pundits don’t refer to that spending as “free stuff.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s comments came as lawmakers debated the NDAA, which authorizes military spending. While the bill typically receives bipartisan support, it received criticism from progressive lawmakers who criticized the spending and the omission of provisions aimed at ending “endless wars.”
In a statement, Democrats called the NDAA a “bill of astonishing moral cowardice.” Democratic lawmakers said the current bill is a victory for Republicans, as it included a majority of their priorities.
The final bill included defense spending, pay raises for service members, 12-week paid parental leave, and funding for President Donald Trump’s Space Force.
Trump touted the bill on Wednesday morning, saying, “All of our priorities have made it into the final NDAA,” adding that he would sign it “immediately.”
Wow! All of our priorities have made it into the final NDAA: Pay Raise for our Troops, Rebuilding our Military, Paid Parental Leave, Border Security, and Space Force! Congress – don’t delay this anymore! I will sign this historic defense legislation immediately!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 11, 2019
However, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) blasted the bill for increasing defense spending, saying it is “Orwellian” to spend that much on defense when the money could be used to “fund free public college for every American” and access to “high-speed, affordable internet.”
Khanna went on to list a series of provisions aimed at ending so-called “endless wars” that were taken out and asked when Congress would “stop funding these endless wars and start funding our domestic priorities.”
Ocasio-Cortez tweeted early Thursday about her opposition to the NDAA, and blasted pundits for supporting the bill without asking how Congress would fund the new spending.
“Proud to join [RO Khanna] in voting [no] on the NDAA. As Ro says, when Pres Obama left, the US defense budget was $618 BILLION/year. It will now be $120 billion more than that. No pundits ask how we pay for it, or blast it as ‘free stuff.’ We just accept it. Pay attention.”
Proud to join @RepRoKhanna in voting NO on the NDAA.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 12, 2019
As Ro says, when Pres Obama left, the US defense budget was $618 BILLION/year.
It will now be $120 billion more than that.
No pundits ask how we pay for it, or blast it as “free stuff.” We just accept it.
Pay attention. https://t.co/MWqCwJ8Sr7
At a town hall in November, Ocasio-Cortez took issue with pundits calling proposals such as free public college and student loan forgiveness “free stuff,” saying that they should be considered public goods.
“These are public goods. They’re public goods. So, I never want to hear the word or the term ‘free stuff’ ever again … because I’m tired of already hearing some of these neoliberal folks who are trying to, like, flip the script on us.”
Public education, libraries, & infrastructure policies (which we‘ve had before in America and elsewhere in the world!) are not “free stuff.”— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 25, 2019
They are PUBLIC GOODS.
And they are worth investing in, protecting, & advancing for all society and future generations.
The NDAA passed the House on Wednesday in a 377-48 vote with six Republicans voting “no” and 41 Democrats voting against it.