Senators Isakson, Perdue Aim To Keep Politically Divisive Items Out of Defense Authorization

Send letter urging negotiating conference committee negotiators to steer clear of unnecessary provisions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and David Perdue (R-GA) joined 15 of their Senate colleagues in a letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the Armed Services Committee of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, urging them to keep unnecessary, controversial political measures out of the National Defense Authorization Act as they conduct conference negotiations.

A provision that was opposed by Senators Isakson and Perdue was included in the Senate-passed defense authorization measure to require women to register for the Selective Service. The Georgia senators argue that this requirement has not yet received the proper study and debate.

“When this legislation was passed by the Senate, I urged the president not to play politics with our service members or our national defense, because last year’s presidential veto of this critical legislation was absolutely shameful,” said Senator Isakson. “Today, I urge this committee to do the same by removing the current language that would, for the first time, prematurely and without proper study of its implications, require women to register for the selective service. To be the best militarily, we need an all-volunteer fighting force in which both men and women can choose to serve our country in uniform and advance in rank based on their merit and qualifications. By increasing what we are spending on our national defense to better equip and train our armed forces, we preclude the need for a draft.”

“Today, our all-volunteer military is made up of our nation’s best women and men who have completed rigorous training to obtain their rank and position,” said Senator Perdue. “This critical legislation directly supports our nation’s missions and ensures that our troops have what they need to be successful in the field. Our nation has not had to rely on a draft in almost 40 years so changing the requirements for an inactive program, like the selective service, should not be a high priority of Congress at this time.”

The National Defense Authorization Act passed the U.S. Senate on June 14, 2016, by a bipartisan vote of 85-13, and the U.S. House of Representatives in May by a vote of 277 to 147. A House-Senate conference committee now must seek to reconcile the differences between the two versions of the bill.

The National Defense Authorization Act includes policies to support our wounded warriors, active duty troops, members of the National Guard and Reserve and their families. It provides an increase in base pay and combat pay for service members, as well as procurement of the tools and equipment necessary to combat ISIS and numerous threats around the world.

In addition to Senators Isakson and Perdue, the letter led by U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) was signed by U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), John Thune (R-SD), Pat Roberts (R-KS), James Inhofe (R-OK), John Boozman (R-AR), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), John Hoeven (R-ND), James Lankford (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jerry Moran (R-KS), James Risch (R-ID), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).

A copy of the letter can be found here