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 TrumpDem lawmaker says Electoral College was 'conceived' as way to perpetuate slavery Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals to visit White House on Monday Transportation Dept requests formal audit of Boeing 737 Max certification 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 MattisMattis returning to Stanford months after Pentagon resignation US-backed fighters capture ISIS militants suspected of killing American troops Nielsen warns US 'not prepared' for foreign cyberattacks MORE determines that would hamper readiness, but it would not require Mattis to certify to Congress that readiness won’t be affected.

One amendment, offered by Rep. Brad SchneiderBradley (Brad) Scott SchneiderTen Dem lawmakers added to House Ways and Means Committee Here are the lawmakers who will forfeit their salaries during the shutdown Kavanaugh nomination a make or break moment to repeal Citizens United MORE (D-Ill.), would add a certification requirement to the bill.

Another, from Rep. Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeHarris receives endorsement from 6 home-state mayors Dems put spotlight on diversity in tech Hillicon Valley: T-Mobile, Sprint racked up Trump hotel bills | Progressives find fresh target in telecom merger | Lawmakers divided over state privacy rules | FCC warns of future probe into Sinclair allegations MORE (D-Calif.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes NortonEleanor Holmes NortonDem lawmakers unveil Journalist Protection Act amid Trump attacks on media Dems push to include contractor back pay in any shutdown deal Dem bill would let essential workers collect unemployment during shutdown 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.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac ThornberryWilliam (Mac) McClellan ThornberryPentagon: Trump's 'cost plus 50' plan hasn't been discussed with Europe Top Republican says B in Pentagon budget for wall should go to defense Overnight Defense: Trump seeks 0B for defense in 2020 budget | Lawmakers invite NATO chief to address Congress | Top envoy says North Korea denuclearization can't be done 'incrementally' 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.