Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Submits 7 Amendments for National Defense Budget Bill to Protect Human Rights
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Ahead of next week’s vote on the The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced seven amendments that collectively seek to end U.S. practices that have contributed to human rights abuses. One amendment would block the sale of weapons to the Saudi unit that killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The U.S. had provided training approved by the State Department to the Saudi operatives responsible for Khashoggi’s murder, highlighting the grave danger of U.S. military partnerships with countries engaged in human rights abuses. Relatedly, the Congresswoman also introduced an amendment that would prohibit Direct Commercial Sales and Foreign Military Sales to any country that has engaged in gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, genocide, or war crimes.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez also introduced three amendments focused on the U.S. relationship with Colombia. First, she called on the Departments of Defense and State to produce a report on the status of human rights in Colombia within 180 days, given reports that as many as 63 people were killed this year during demonstrations against anti-working class reforms (full amendment text). Rep. Ocasio-Cortez also submitted an amendment that would prohibit the sale of military aid, weaponry, and training to Colombia’s Mobile Anti-Disturbances Squadron, which was directly responsible for egregious abuses during the April 2021 protests. Additionally, the Congresswoman reintroduced her amendment to prevent any U.S. funds from supporting aerial fumigation, which has been used in an attempt to decrease cocaine production; but instead has resulted in devastating health and environmental consequences for the Colombian people.
The Congresswoman also introduced an amendment to address human rights abuses occurring at home. Under the Department of Defense 1033 program, U.S. civilian law enforcement agencies regularly receive free military-grade weapons from the DoD, such as firearms, destructive devices, ammunition, mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles, and grenade launchers. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s amendment would prohibit the transfer of such weapons. The Congresswoman is also co-sponsoring an amendment led by Rep. Nydia Velázquez that would eliminate the 1033 program and an amendment led by Rep. Ayanna Pressley to place a moratorium on the future transfer of all weapons under the program.
Finally, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez also introduced an amendment to suspend the transfer of Boeing Joint Direct Attack Munition weaponry under the $735 million direct commercial sale to the Israeli government. The Congresswoman introduced a resolution in the Spring with the same goal, following the death of 200 Palestinians during hostilities this Spring. This would block the transfer of the same kind of Boeing weaponry that the Israeli government used to kill 44 Palestinians in one night in al-Rimal (cite).