Friday’s passage in the U.S. House of Representatives of the National Defense Authorization Act, which appropriates $612 billion in spending for the Pentagon and military priorities, also marks the House approval of three initiatives sponsored by Democratic congresswoman from the Florida Panhandle Gwen Graham.
Graham heralded the passage of the bill — by a vote of 269-151, with 143 of her fellow Democrats voting “nay” and 40 joining her in the “yea” column — in a news release on Friday.
“The government’s first and foremost duty is to keep our nation safe. I’m proud to support the National Defense Authorization Act, which will ensure our military remains the strongest on earth,” Graham said in a written statement.
“I’m also proud this legislation contains important elements of bills I’ve sponsored to recognize military divers, help our veterans and strengthen our bond with Israel,” she wrote.
The latter remark refers to the Tallahassee freshman’s continued efforts to stake out moderate ground in Congress, maneuvering to include in the final draft of the NDAA the U.S.-Israel Anti-Tunnel Defense Cooperation Act, increased funding for military divers and a portion of Graham’s proposed VETS Act to hire more “recovery coordinators” to help injured veterans move back into civilian life.
Graham worked alongside Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn to secure passage of the new pro-Israeli defense initiative, which authorizes research and development funding for an anti-tunneling defense system to protect the Jewish state from terrorist attacks, a system Graham likened to Israel’s famed “Iron Dome” anti-missile defense system
“Passing the US-Israel Anti-Tunnel Defense Cooperation Act in my first five months shows how much we can accomplish when Democrats and Republicans work together,” Graham said Friday, hitting her increasingly well-known bipartisan refrain
“This legislation will help our country and our closest ally in the Middle East, Israel, defend our borders and bases against terrorists attacks.”