Defense and Veterans

Summary of Position

Our national security is among Congressman DeSaulnier’s top priorities and he believes that the men and women who bravely and selflessly sign up to keep our country safe deserve our utmost respect and gratitude, which should include quality health care and a VA that works for them, education and job training, transition programs, and mental health services.

By the Numbers

  • At least $125 billion in wasteful spending buried by senior Department of Defense officials.

  • The defense budget increased in 2020 by another $30 billion, bringing total defense spending to a whopping $738 billion.

  • Veterans are 1.5 times more likely to die by suicide and 50% more like to become homeless compared to the general population, while 1/10 veterans lack health insurance.

  • Cyber attacks, an increasing trend our defense systems must protect against, is estimated to amass $6 trillion in damages annually by 2021.

Things to Know

  • Opposed every defense spending bill since coming to Congress due to wasteful spending and lack of an audit
  • Opposed each defense authorization bill (NDAA) since coming to Congress due to lack of accountability and oversight
  • Successfully included an amendment in the NDAA to provide financial transparency for servicemembers separating from the Armed Services
  • Successfully included an amendment in the NDAA recognizing the bias experienced by the Port Chicago 50 during World War II

Working for You

Demanding Department of Defense Accountability:
In 2006, it was discovered that $8.5 trillion given to the Department of Defense (DoD) since 1996 was unaccounted for and in 2016, it was discovered that the Department attempted to bury results of a study they commissioned identifying $125 billion in wasteful spending. The DoD has since conducted its first-ever agency-wide financial audit, but a full analysis still must be done to identify wasteful programs. To encourage accountability, Congressman DeSaulnier introduced the Department of Defense Waste Reduction Act (H.R. 2367) to prevent DoD from receiving any additional funding until wasteful spending practices within the Department are addressed.

Protecting Veterans’ Benefits:
For years the VA has been withholding disability payments from veterans who received separation pay when leaving the military. To stop this injustice, Congressman DeSaulnier joined Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) in authoring the Restore Veterans’ Compensation Act (H.R. 6027), which would prevent the VA from withholding disability pay in order to recoup separation payments made to veterans. 

Keeping the Administration Accountable:
In an ever-changing security landscape, it is imperative that we follow the checks and balances laid out in the Constitution for our nation’s leaders. To have faith in that system, Congressman DeSaulnier supports the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act (H.R. 669) and voted in favor of a resolution requiring the President to consult Congress before engaging in hostilities with Iran (H.Con. Res. 83).

For a downloadable copy of Mark's defense and veterans work, click the image below: