House Passes National Defense Bill w/Kelly Amendment to Ban Funding for UN Arms Trade Treaty

Dec 2, 2016 Issues: Foreign Affairs and Defense

Compromise bill includes largest pay raise for troops in 6 years

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) issued the following statement today regarding the Conference Report to Accompany S. 2943, also known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2017, compromise legislation with the U.S. Senate which will fully fund the United States Armed Forces and ensure that American troops have the resources required to successfully defend the homeland and achieve their missions abroad. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives earlier today by a bipartisan vote of 375-34. It includes an amendment offered annually by Rep. Kelly to prohibit funding for the Department of Defense (DoD) for the implementation of the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

“The People’s House has once again fulfilled its sacred duty to provide our nation’s defenders and warfighters with the resources they need to defeat our enemies and defend freedom around the world. Among other features, this NDAA includes the largest pay raise for our troops in six years. Additionally, I am very glad that my colleagues once again unanimously approved my commonsense amendment to prevent taxpayer dollars from being used to undermine our sovereignty, harm our allies, or threaten our Second Amendment rights through the dangerous UN ATT. I look forward to the president signing this legislation to keep all Americans safe.”

BACKGROUND: Rep. Kelly is a national leader of the movement to stop the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). On March 15, 2013, he introduced H. Con. Res. 23, a bipartisan concurrent resolution expressing opposition to the treaty on behalf of members of Congress. The resolution earned 149 co-sponsors in the House and 36 supporters in the Senate. On May 30, 2013, Rep. Kelly submitted a bipartisan letter with 130 co-signers from Congress to both President Obama and Secretary Kerry urging them to reject the treaty. He sent a similar bipartisan letter to the president following Secretary Kerry’s signing of the treaty on October 15, 2013, which was signed by 181 members of Congress, including multiple committee chairmen. A follow-up letter was sent to the White House on April, 20, 2014.

On September 5, 2014, Rep. Kelly submitted a letter to President Obama voicing opposition to the planned First Conference of State Parties (CSP) to the ATT – a UN-backed gathering to shape the treaty’s future – due to its exclusion of any organizations critical of the treaty.

On March 2, 2015, Rep. Kelly sent a letter to President Obama co-signed by 34 new members of Congress elected in 2014 to express unified opposition to the ATT and a firm commitment to deny any federal funding for the treaty’s implementation.

On May 19, 2016, the House passed H.R. 4909, the House-authored draft of the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2017, which included Rep. Kelly’s amendment to continue the annual ban on funding by DoD for the implementation of the ATT. The amendment was the strongest version to date, updating the language of Rep. Kelly’s previous amendments that were enacted into law in previous NDAAs.