The two Republicans representing Indiana in the U.S. Senate don’t see eye to eye when it comes to spending on the U.S. military.
Last week, Todd Young voted to advance the $858 billion National Defense Authorization Act that funds the military and authorizes military activities through September 2023, while Mike Braun voted no.
The 62nd annual NDAA awards a 4.6% pay raise to service members and civilian Department of Defense employees, appropriates money for new and replacement military weapons and equipment, provides $800 million in additional aid to Ukraine as it works to repel Russian invaders, and boosts U.S. response capability to evolving threats, among other provisions.
In Indiana, the NDAA also clears the way for the the 122nd Fighter Wing in Fort Wayne to transition to the F-16 fighter since the Air Force’s A-10 fighter jet was retired; supports hypersonic-weapons research at Purdue University, the University of Notre Dame and Rolls-Royce; and requires improved monitoring of icy conditions on the Great Lakes and future acquisition of new icebreakers.
“At a time of increasing threats and heightened national security challenges, this critical bill takes big steps in putting the United States on a better trajectory to out-compete the Chinese Communist Party, invest in a 21st-century arsenal of democracy, and provide our brave men and women in uniform with the support they deserve,” Young said.
“Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party are telegraphing their regional and global ambitions, and this bill will help us better deter and defend against the CCP’s increasingly aggressive behavior, including through Senate Foreign Relations Committee provisions incorporated in the bill to reinforce the security of Taiwan.”
Congressional support for the NDAA was bipartisan and overwhelming. It was approved 83-11 by the Senate and 350-80 in the House. Democratic President Joe Biden is expected to sign it into law.
Records show that Braun was the only Indiana representative or senator to oppose the legislation, even though it includes Braun’s long-sought repeal of the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
Braun has voted against the NDAA every year since joining the Senate in 2019.
“Defense is the most important thing we do, which is why D.C. must do a real budget and get our spending under control across the board,” Braun said. “In a recent audit the Pentagon could only account for 39% of its $3.5 trillion in assets: we have to get serious about debt and budgeting, because our national debt is a national security threat.”
U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., is condemning federal guidance issued Tuesday that recommends Americans — regardless of vaccination status — again wear face masks in crowded indoor spaces if they are in states with “substantial” or “high” COVID-19 spread.
The national debt has ballooned to $31 trillion from $22 trillion during the four years Braun has been in Washington.
“There’s no place in the country that can run the way this joint does,” he said. “It is a broken system.”
Braun is giving up his Senate seat in 2024 to compete for the Republican nomination for Indiana governor.
If elected, he also would become commander-in-chief of the Indiana National Guard.