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Gabbard on NSA funding: Infringing on ‘very liberties, freedoms our troops have fought and died for”


Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard voted Wednesday for final passage of the Defense Appropriations bill (H.R. 2397) in the House.

During floor debate on the bill, Gabbard spoke out against the sweeping collection of personal data by the National Security Administration (NSA), and the continued funding of invasive surveillance programs that target innocent Americans.

“Countless men and women from my state of Hawaii and all across the country have worn the uniform and put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms and our liberties,” said Gabbard, speaking in support of a the Amash-Conyers amendment to strip funding from the NSA. “I cannot, in good conscience, vote to take a single dollar from the pockets of hard-working taxpayers from across the country to pay for programs which infringe on the very liberties and freedoms our troops have fought and died for. Ben Franklin said, ‘They who give up liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.’”

The House rejected the amendment by a vote of 217-205. The final legislation, which passed by a vote of 315-109, includes several funding provisions requested by the congresswoman.

“This bipartisan Defense funding bill provides good jobs in Hawaii, ends furloughs of civilian DoD employees, and ensures Hawaii’s significant role in our national security strategy and rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region,” she said. “I will continue to work to ensure that our military leaders have the tools and the resources they need to execute the strategic rebalance, and to end the harmful arbitrary cuts that still apply to other federal departments.”

Gabbard requested the following provisions that were included in the final bill:

* $262 million: Clean-up of Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS), which is $25 million more than was requested by the President.

* $20 million: Suicide prevention and outreach programs for servicemembers.

* $36 million: Procurement Technical Assistance Program.

* $570 million: Military tuition assistance programs.

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