U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is looking to make an impact on the military in his first year of Congress.
As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, he proposed three amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act, which is expected to come to a vote by Thanksgiving.
He’s expected to propose three more this week.
Despite a push from Army and Central Texas officials for a round of Base Realignment and Closure, Texas’ newest senator has an amendment on the bill to block one.
“Senator Cruz is working hard to lead the fight to protect our military bases in Texas and to guarantee that America maintains the world’s best military,” said Sean Rushton, spokesman for the senator. “He was proud to introduce an amendment — which was successfully adopted, with bipartisan support — to legally prohibit any domestic BRAC until, at minimum, a thorough overseas review takes place that looks at the possibility of moving some of those personnel and assets back home.”
Locally, Central Texas mayors and defense experts called for a BRAC, citing its potential benefits to Fort Hood. Fort Hood’s garrison commander spoke about the Army calling for a BRAC, but it being denied, at a local school board meeting.
The other two amendments are related to missile defense and religious freedom in the military — they would mandate the military take anonymous surveys of chaplains to determine if the Pentagon interferes with their job, while also instructing the Defense Department inspector general to investigate reports of religious discrimination.
All three were passed by the committee in June.
The three amendments Cruz is looking to propose this week all focus on hot-button issues: the health care of detainees at Guantanamo Bay; offering a reward for information about the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attack; and protecting religious symbols in official monuments honoring veterans.