Rep. Kelly Applauds House Passage of Defense Appropriations Bill

Includes language requested by Kelly to continue ban on funding
for UN Arms Trade Treaty

Defense Department to fund research on pediatric brain tumors
following letter co-signed by Kelly

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) issued the following statement today after the House of Representatives passed the Department of Defense Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2016 by a bipartisan vote of 278-149. The bill includes language requested by Rep. Kelly to prohibit any funding by the Department of Defense (DoD) for the implementation of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) unless the treaty receives the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate. The legislation also directs the “Peer-Reviewed Cancer Research Program” (part of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs administered by DoD) to fund research on pediatric brain tumors, a result of a bipartisan letter to the chairman and ranking member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense co-signed by Rep. Kelly.

“I am very pleased that the House has passed today’s bill to fund our national defense, provide support for our military’s missions abroad, and give our troops and their families a well-deserved pay raise. I am particularly glad that this legislation contains two provisions that my office fought to secure: first, the bill continues the ban on federal funding for the UN ATT, which will help keep our sovereignty secure and our Constitutional rights protected from this dangerous treaty. Second, the bill ensures that the Pentagon will once again fund critical research on pediatric brain tumors in order to one day eradicate this horrendous, heart-breaking disease for good.”

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 December 16, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Omnibus Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2015, which includes a ban on federal funding for the ATT’s implementation. The president signed the final version of the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2015 (H.R. 3979) on December 19, 2014, which included a similar ban.

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 March 25, 2015, Rep. Kelly authored and submitted four separate letters to the bipartisan leaders of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, the Subcommittee on Homeland Security, the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, and the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies requesting updated language prohibiting federal funding for the ATT in each of the subcommittees’ respective appropriation bills. Each letter was co-signed by 90 members of Congress.

On May 15, 2015, the House passed H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2016, which once again included an amendment introduced by Rep. Kelly to continue the annual ban on funding by the Department of Defense for the implementation of the ATT. The amendment is the strongest version to date, updating the language of Rep. Kelly’s previous amendments that were enacted into law in previous NDAAs.