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Senate Passes The National Defense Authorization Act For The 2020 Fiscal Year

Jun 27, 2019 04:55PM ● By Staff Writer

The United States Senate today passed the National Defence Authorization Act for the Fiscal Year 2020 with a bipartisan vote of 86-8.

U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today: 

“This defense spending package will provide billions of dollars to support our great men and women in uniform,” said Sen. Kennedy. “It raises our troops’ pay by 3.1%, and they deserve every penny.  It will allow us to better prepare for any threats to our national security.  When we’re dealing with rogue regimes like Iran and North Korea, it’s easier to sleep at night knowing that our military is fully funded and equipped to respond to any possible threats.” 

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-R.I.) released the following statements on the legislation:

“The National Defense Authorization Act helps our military meet the goals of the National Defense Strategy, supports our troops, and protects American freedom and prosperity. It is the most important bill we’ll consider all year,” Sen. Inhofe said. “Congress has passed this critical legislation for 58 years running, and now, we’re one step closer to doing it for a 59th year. Today’s strong bipartisan vote shows our commitment to our constitutional responsibility to provide for the common defense. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House of Representatives to find a bipartisan, bicameral agreement during conference to meet the security needs of a nation increasingly at risk.”

“This is an important bipartisan package that will strengthen our military, support our troops, and enhance national security. It makes critical investments in emerging technologies and a stronger cyber framework. The NDAA also includes needed reforms to help fix and improve on-base housing for military families,” said Sen. Reed. “I commend Chairman Inhofe for leading a bipartisan process and incorporating input and amendments from our colleagues. Clearly, today’s vote does not mark the end of the process, but the beginning of the next phase. There are still some key components of the NDAA that we must work through with our colleagues in the House. I look forward to continuing the bipartisan commitment to enhancing national security while balancing budgetary realities in a way that enables us to meet evolving challenges now and in the future.”

The Senate-passed National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2020 supports a total of $750 billion for national defense programs, including those at the Department of Defense and Department of Energy national security programs. Highlights of the legislation include:

  • Providing for a 3.1 percent pay raise for our 2.15 million uniformed service members—the largest in a decade;
  • Reforming the Military Housing Privatization Initiative to improve quality of life for military families;
  • Authorizing critical investments in battle force ships, aircraft, and other equipment to maintain our combat advantage;
  • Maintaining a secure, credible nuclear deterrent;
  • Supporting our allies and partners to counter strategic competition;
  • Establishing the United States Space Force under the Air Force;
  • Modernizing our military technology and capabilities, including artificial intelligence and hypersonic weapons; and
  • Advancing the Department of Defense’s cybersecurity strategy and addressing our cyber warfighting capabilities.

On the Senate floor this week, a substitute amendment including 93 bipartisan amendments was adopted. These amendments included:

  • The Intelligence Authorization Act;
  • The Maritime Administration Authorization Act;
  • The Fentanyl Sanctions Act, which adds sanctions on drug manufacturers from China and financial institutions that knowingly facilitate and participate in the trafficking of synthetic opioids and authorizes additional funding and resources to combat foreign opioid trafficking;
  • An amendment allowing the families of the 1983 Marine Barracks bombing victims to access $1.68 billion in Iranian funds currently held by Clearstream;
  • An amendment that bans the purchase of rail cars and buses from certain state-owned enterprises, excluding pre-existing contracts;
  • An amendment to address the risks and challenges associated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS);
  • An amendment protecting the U.S. military’s right to self-defense;
  • An amendment expressing the Sense of Congress that Turkey should not accept delivery of the S-400 air defense system from Russia;
  • The Otto Warmbier Banking Restrictions Involving North Korea Act of 2019, which expresses the sense of Congress that sanctions should be used to halt North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs;
  • An amendment that supports expanding plutonium pit production capacity;
  • An amendment that calls on Hong Kong’s authorities to withdraw its extradition bill and authorizes financial sanctions against those violating human rights in Hong Kong;
  • An amendment to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act that allows spouses of catastrophically injured or deceased service members to terminate leases of premises and vehicles;
  • An amendment that extends the limitation on military cooperation between the United States and Russia;
  • An amendment to improve aviation workforce development;
  • An amendment to require an updated strategy to counter the malign influence of Russia and China;
  • The Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies Act (USE IT Act), which supports carbon utilization and direct air capture research;
  • An amendment to support reducing our reliance on foreign sources for rare earth minerals;
  • An amendment to address preparation for, response to, and recovery from electromagnetic pulses and geomagnetic disturbances;
  • An amendment that authorizes other federal agencies to participate in the Skillbridge program, which connects transition Service members to job training;
  • Two amendments supporting overseas absentee ballot voting for members of the Armed Forces; and
  • Two amendments that enhance the Defense Production Act to ensure the security of our defense supply chain.

To examine the executive summary of the 2020 Defense Act, download the attached pdf file. 

*DVIDS Photo by Lance Cpl. James Bourgeois

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