Romney Seeks to Add Key Utah and National Security Priorities to Defense Bill

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) this week introduced several amendments to the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which is currently being considered on the Senate floor. The amendments include legislation to settle an important water rights claim for Navajos living in Utah, to give rural Utahns a voice in land management, and a measure to improve access to Utah’s Hill Air Force Base. Senator Romney also offered amendments aimed at confronting the threat China poses to U.S. national security, intellectual property, and technology. He also introduced an amendment to make the E-Verify program permanent.

“The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act authorizes critical policy and programs that support our military readiness and our troops. As China expands its economic and military power, it is past time for us to construct a comprehensive strategy to confront their growing aggression,” Romney said. “That’s why I have introduced several amendments to this year’s defense bill to require the United States to develop a unified approach with our allies to address the rise of China, as well as to address cybersecurity threats to U.S. weapons systems and intellectual property theft by Chinese companies.

“I also am proud to introduce several amendments that will benefit my home state of Utah, including my legislation to keep the longstanding promise by the federal government to Utah’s Navajo Nation,” Romney continued. “Senator Lee and I have introduced legislation that would return the decision-making and management power of public lands to Utahns. We have also introduced an important measure to improve access to Utah’s Hill Air Force Base, which plays a critical role in our national security.”


Amendments Introduced by Senator Romney:

  • Amendment to require the U.S. to partner with allies in the Indo-Pacific region and Europe to develop a unified approach to address the rise of China.
  • Amendment to require the Director of National Intelligence to report to Congress the known intellectual property theft by Chinese companies and any attempts to sell that stolen intellectual property back on the U.S. market.
  • Amendment to require the Comptroller General of the United States to report updates and recommendations for addressing cybersecurity vulnerabilities in U.S. weapons systems.
  • Amendment to limit the ability of the Secretary of Commerce to remove Huawei from the entities list until after the Secretary certifies that the national security threat no longer exists.
  • Amendment to make the E-Verify Program a permanent authorization, extending it beyond its current September 2019 authorization.
  • The Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act to settle a decades-long negotiation among the Navajo Nation, federal government and the State of Utah over water rights for Utah Navajos.

Amendments Cosponsored by Senator Romney:

  • The Protect Utah’s Rural Economy (PURE) Act to protect Utah from future abuses under the Antiquities Act.
  • Amendment with Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) to permit the State of Utah to build a new interchange for I-15 in exchange for building a new gate at Hill Air Force Base.
  • Amendment to give the Department of Defense the ability to expedite the rehiring of certain retired military members to jobs that are necessary to fill quickly.
  • Amendment to honor the Last Surviving Medal of Honor Recipient from WWII.