House Advances McMorris Rodgers Priorities, Historic Pay Raise For Fairchild Troops in Annual Defense Package

Washington, D.C. – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) today released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the FY24 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included five provisions she wrote and a number of wins for servicemembers in Eastern Washington:

“This year’s National Defense Authorization Act invests in our Armed Services to bolster our national defense and ensure our military readiness on the world stage,” said Rodgers. “It makes sure our servicemembers have every tool they need to keep us safe from our adversaries, and rewards their commitment to our country with the largest pay raise in more than two decades.”

“I’m also proud of the wins in this bill that were inspired by some of the best partners I’ve had the opportunity to team up with – Ret. Major Will Ostan and Eastern Washington’s own Hannah Cvancara and Bobby Moran,” Rodgers continued. “Taking their ideas and turning them into results that will help others in their shoes is what makes this job special. Because of their advocacy and commitment, we are one step closer to creating more opportunities for people who are ready and willing to serve, ensuring Soldier’s Medal recipients get the recognition they deserve, and getting a Wounded Warrior Bill of Rights signed into law.”

The House-passed version of this year’s NDAA included the provisions to bolster America’s national defense and support servicemembers around the world, including at Fairchild Air Force Base in Eastern Washington. It also included five provisions Cathy fought to secure.

Servicemember Pay and Benefits

  • Supports a 5.2% increase in servicemember basic pay, the largest pay raise in over 20 years.
  • Expands Basic Needs Allowance to assist low-income servicemembers supporting a family.
  • Extends military recruitment and retention bonuses and special pay authorities.

Military Spouses & Families

  • Expands reimbursements available to military spouses for relicensing or business costs when servicemembers transfer locations.
  • Significantly reduces DoD child care fees for military families.
  • Requires a review of the availability of mental health services in military schools.

Protecting Parents Rights

  • Includes a Parents Bill of Rights to ensure parents of children in DoD schools have the right to review curriculum, books, and instructional materials; meet with teachers; and provide consent before any medical exams or screenings by the school.

Oversight of Ukraine Security Assistance

  • Establishes a new Special Inspector General for Ukraine Security Assistance to direct and coordinate the oversight and audit of all aid provided to Ukraine by the United States.

COVID-19 Vaccine Discharges

  • Continues the prohibition on adverse action on any servicemember that refuses to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Provides a path back to service for those wrongly discharged for refusing to take the vaccine.

Military Health Care

  • Waives fees and copays on the TRICARE Dental Program for all members of the Selected Reserve.
  • Prohibits cuts in reimbursement rates for providers of applied behavior analysis for the treatment of autism.
  • Takes steps to address the growing behavioral health demands across the Military Health System.

Countering CCP Aggression

  • Extends the Pacific Deterrence Initiative to enhance U.S. deterrence and defense posture in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Increases funding for innovative new technologies needed to deter the CCP on future battlefields, including AI, autonomous systems, cyber, and more.
  • Requires the DoD to identify and mitigate harmful encroachment near military installations, especially land purchases made by CCP-backed entities.
  • Accelerates the deployment of advanced radars to track high-altitude balloons and other CCP threats to our homeland.
  • Prohibits DoD from contracting with Ecohealth Alliance for any research supported by CCP.
  • Reaffirms U.S. support to the defense of Taiwan.

Cathy’s Legislation and Provisions

  • The Wounded Warrior Bill of Rights to cut through red tape, improve transparency, and increase accountability for wounded warriors. The bill would ensure veterans are able to effectively appeal decisions made regarding their medical separation from service and entitlement to disability benefits. CLICK HERE to read the bill.
  • The Bobby Moran Soldier’s Medal Retirement Act to eliminate the retirement pay cap for Vietnam-era veterans who received the Soldier’s Medal, ensuring recipients receive the increased retirement compensation they earned with the honor. Cathy led this bill on behalf of United States Air Force Staff Sergeant Bobby Moran from Usk, Wash., who was awarded the Soldier’s Medal for risking his life to save eight people after their boat capsized in the turbulent waters of Pyramid Lake, Nevada. CLICK HERE to read the bill.
  • Direction from Congress that individuals with non-service-connected amputations should be permitted to serve in the United States Armed Forces. This provision was inspired by Hannah Cvancara, a Spokane resident, who suffered a childhood amputation that disqualified her from serving as a nurse in the United States Navy. It would encourage the Department of Defense to consider changing its policy currently prohibiting an individual – who is otherwise qualified – from serving. CLICK HERE to learn more about Hannah’s story.
  • An amendment requiring the Secretary of Defense to conduct an assessment of our nation’s global stockpiles and ensure they meet all readiness and strategic objectives. This includes the quantities of equipment in stock, whether the equipment is sufficiently modernized, the state of readiness of the equipment, and any air and missile defense capabilities protecting the equipment. CLICK HERE to read the amendment.
  • Report language (page 24) to support and expand the mission of the 141st Air Refueling Wing of the Washington Air National Guard at Fairchild Air Force Base. CLICK HERE to read more.

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