Washington – Last night, the House Armed Services Committee voted 56-0 to advance the FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) out of Committee. 

During the Committee’s markup, Rep. Cheney spoke out about a number of proposed amendments, including an amendment that proposed cutting funding for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) which would only embolden China. Watch her remarks below:  

REP. LIZ CHENEY: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I also oppose this amendment. As Mr. Turner has said, we can go over all of the issues that we debate about the triad, certainly I disagree with Mr. Khanna’s characterization of the experts, the so-called expert’s view on the triad. But I would also point out what Mr. Khanna has suggested what we do is take a billion dollars out of funding for the GBSD and allocate that money to pandemic preparedness. Now this is, I suppose, something that he’s done to try to say that there’s a cause that’s greater than our nuclear deterrent. I think it’s important, first of all, to point out we have allocated significant resources to pandemic response, to pandemic relief, to ensuring that we are providing the kind of support this country needs to begin to recover from the pandemic and also to ensure that we’re protecting ourselves from these kinds of things in the future.

But there’s one fundamental issue that is missing in this discussion and that is China. The extent to which the Chinese government, the Chinese Communist Party, is directly responsible for the deaths that we’ve seen in the United States and around the world, directly responsible for the economic devastation. They caused this pandemic to be spread globally, and when I say they caused it to be spread globally, I say that because they knew that they had human-to-human transmission and they stopped travel from Wuhan to the rest of China but they allowed travel from Wuhan into the world. They knew what they were doing and instead of coming together to hold China accountable, which is what we ought to be doing, which is what we, the Republicans, asked Speaker Pelosi and others to do, to join with us on our task force to hold the Chinese government accountable for this death and devastation. Instead, my colleague Mr. Khanna is proposing an amendment cutting a billion dollars out of our nuclear forces. This amendment helps China, this amendment helps America’s adversaries. The people that would benefit from this amendment are the people that want to see the United States unilaterally disarm, and that is the government of China. It is absolutely shameful in my view.

This is a time that we need to be clearer than ever before that we are going to put the resources behind modernizing our nuclear forces, our adversaries are doing it, the government of China is doing it. We are falling behind, and I don’t think the Chinese government, frankly, could imagine in their wildest dreams that they would have been able to get a member of the United States Congress to propose, in response to the pandemic, that we ought to cut a billion dollars out of our nuclear forces. It is more than they could have imagined. I urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment and I yield back.