WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, released the following statement on Senate passage of the National Defense Authorization Act or NDAA (S. 4049).
“Each year, Congress comes together in a bipartisan way to support the men and women of America’s military and to lay out a plan for our national defense. We have a solemn duty to keep our nation safe from harm and, in doing so, provide the tools our military needs to carry out its mission of defending our nation against all enemies. This year’s NDAA supports $740 billion in defense spending, which includes the critical work being done at nine Maryland defense facilities.
“I supported overall passage of this bill to maintain our nation’s military edge and national security. However, it is clear that the growing imbalance between defense spending and community needs, particularly in the midst of the current pandemic, is unsustainable. We are facing unprecedented health, economic, and social challenges on a national scale. While many domestic challenges go unaddressed, the Pentagon’s budget now equals more than one-half of all discretionary spending, and it has increased by over $100 billion since President Trump took office. Meanwhile, more Americans have been killed by the coronavirus than the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, 9/11, the Afghanistan War, and the Iraq War combined. We can support our people at home and keep our military strong around the world. But it requires us to be smarter and more deliberate about how we allocate resources for defense and domestic needs.”
The Senate NDAA includes a Cardin amendment that extends the current 9-year limit on a small businesses’ participation in the Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) 8(a) Business Development Program to 10 years. To participate in the program, eligible small businesses must be certified by the SBA as a socially and economically disadvantaged small business.
Senator Cardin: “SBA’s 8(a) Business Development program remains a critical tool for underserved small businesses to compete for small business contracts with the federal government. Small businesses are currently facing unprecedented economic and workforce challenges as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. I am pleased that my amendment was included in the NDAA to provide 8(a) participants that would have graduated from the program during the pandemic with another year of support.”
REJECTING THE CONFEDERACY
Senator Cardin: “I am pleased that this bill will direct the Department of Defense to rename military instillations that currently are named after confederate generals. America does not need monuments to men who fought against our nation. We can learn about history without statues or military bases honoring those who sought to tear apart our union. As a nation, we are acknowledging systemic racism and inequality in our country. Removing hurtful symbols and names is a strong first step in setting new precedents of inclusion and equality.”