Defense bill amendments target Trump's military parade

Defense bill amendments target Trump's military parade
© Greg Nash

Democrats are taking aim at President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden slams Trump in new ad: 'The death toll is still rising.' 'The president is playing golf' Brazil surpasses Russia with second-highest coronavirus case count in the world Trump slams Sessions: 'You had no courage & ruined many lives' MORE’s planned military parade through proposed amendments to the annual defense policy bill.

As it stands now, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would authorize a parade that includes small arms and munitions “appropriate for customary ceremonial honors” and military units that “perform customary ceremonial duties.”

It would prohibit motorized vehicles, aviation platforms, munitions other than the ceremonial ones, operational military units or operational military platforms if Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman Mattis'Never Trump' Republicans: Fringe, or force to be reckoned with? Trump sending ally to Pentagon to vet officials' loyalty: report Pentagon watchdog unable to 'definitively' determine if White House influenced JEDI contract MORE determines that would hamper readiness, but it would not require Mattis to certify to Congress that readiness won’t be affected.

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One amendment, offered by Rep. Brad SchneiderBradley (Brad) Scott SchneiderIllinois governor endorses Biden one day before primary Durbin endorses Biden: He 'can start to heal the wounds of this divided nation' Duckworth endorses Biden ahead of Super Tuesday MORE (D-Ill.), would add a certification requirement to the bill.

Another, from Rep. Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeOvernight Defense: Pentagon memo warns pandemic could go until summer 2021 | Watchdog finds Taliban violence is high despite US deal | Progressive Dems demand defense cuts Progressives demand defense budget cuts amid coronavirus pandemic Cornell to launch new bipartisan publication led by former Rep. Steve Israel MORE (D-Calif.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes NortonEleanor Holmes NortonDC delegate calls for closure of Lincoln and Jefferson memorials DC argues it is shortchanged by coronavirus relief bill An inclusive democracy Demands DC statehood MORE (D-D.C.), would aim to block the parade altogether by prohibiting funding for “any exhibition or parade of military forces and hardware for review by the president in order to demonstrate military force outside of authorized military operations or activities.’’

The Pentagon confirmed in February that Trump had directed defense officials to begin planning a military parade, apparently inspired by the Bastille Day parade he saw when he visited France.

In March, the Defense Department released a memo saying the parade would be held Nov. 11, the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

The parade is meant to highlight contributions of veterans throughout U.S. history and is to include veterans wearing period uniforms, according to the memo. The memo also stipulates that only wheeled vehicles are to be used, not tanks.

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House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac ThornberryWilliam (Mac) McClellan ThornberryBoosting military deterrence in the Indo-Pacific region Overnight Defense: Pentagon memo warns pandemic could go until summer 2021 | Watchdog finds Taliban violence is high despite US deal | Progressive Dems demand defense cuts Progressives demand defense budget cuts amid coronavirus pandemic MORE (R-Texas) included the language in the NDAA signing off on the parade because he “agrees with President Trump that it is appropriate to honor and celebrate 100 years of patriotic sacrifice in a way that expresses appreciation and admiration for our men and women in uniform, including a parade in the nation’s capital and a national celebration for that purpose,” according to a summary of the bill.

During the committee’s markup of the bill last week, Democrats tried to restrict the parade with an amendment have would have made the prohibition on equipment and units unconditional. The amendment was rejected by voice vote.

The House is expected to consider the NDAA next week. The House Rules Committee will decide which amendments make it to a floor vote.