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SASC Votes Early and in the Dark on Opening NDAA

Open NDAA troops with plane

This morning, in a closed Executive Session, the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) voted to keep this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) markup behind closed doors. The vote was 17-9. This early vote was out of the ordinary for the Committee, and POGO has been told it even took members by surprise.

We still believe the members of the Committee can be convinced to reconsider this issue and open their markup to the public. Within 24 hours, thousands of people signed a petition to open the process. This rapid and passionate action shows how much constituents care about holding an open debate of our national security policy.

We’re particularly disappointed that SASC’s Chairman, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), voted to close the markup—he cited concerns that going between open and classified session would be “too cumbersome.” Yet the House, which considers the same bill, has proven for years that it can be considered out in the open. We’re deeply disappointed that SASC members found a public debate about national security policy to be too inconvenient.

We will continue to work with Senate offices to try to convince them to change their minds before the mark up begins in three weeks.

By: Elizabeth "Liz" Hempowicz
Director of Public Policy, POGO

Photograph of Elizabeth Liz Hempowicz is the Director of Public Policy for the Project On Government Oversight.

Topics: Open Government

Related Content: Budget, National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Defense

Authors: Elizabeth "Liz" Hempowicz

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