Washington, D.C. – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) today released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the final version of the FY24 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included her MARITIME Act and a historic pay raise for troops serving at Fairchild Air Force Base.
“This year’s National Defense Authorization Act recognizes that our national security depends on the strength and readiness of the United States Armed Forces,” said Rodgers. “The investment we’re making will equip our servicemembers with the tools they need to keep us safe from the growing number of threats around the globe, while rewarding their service with the largest pay raise in more than two decades.”
“The package also includes my MARITIME Act, which will increase security cooperation between the United States and Abraham Accords Countries to counter Iranian aggression and support Israel in its fight against Hamas.” Rodgers continued. “I’m committed to delivering these wins, and I look forward to President Biden signing them into law.”
Passage of the MARITIME Act in this defense package comes at a crucial time, as Israel and the Middle East continue to deal with Iranian aggression that is destabilizing the region. Iran’s material and financial support of Hamas and Hezbollah underscores the need to develop a comprehensive security strategy between the United States and partners in the region to defend against these shared threats, which this legislation aims to achieve.
Click here to learn more about the MARITIME Act.
The final version of this year’s NDAA includes provisions to bolster America’s national defense and support servicemembers around the world. Below are highlights from the bill, which will now move to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law.
Personnel Pay & Benefits
- Provides a 5.2 percent pay raise for servicemembers, 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 to support readiness efforts.
Military Spouses & Families
- Significantly reduces DoD child care fees for military families.
- Expands reimbursements available to military spouses for relicensing or business costs when servicemembers transfer locations.
- Expands funding to build and remodel outdated military housing.
Military Health Care
- Expands access to mental health services for servicemembers and encourages a review of suicide prevention programs.
- 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.
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.
- Establishes new oversight mechanisms for military assistance and aid to Ukraine.
- Requires oversight of and limitations on the DoD hiring based on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs and policies.
- Requires DoD to submit reports on major weapon readiness, new weapon project progress, and developments in nuclear technology.
Enhancing Military Readiness
- Increases funding for missile research and development, munitions stockpiles, military training exercises, and global military infrastructure.
- Increases procurement, research, and funding for hypersonic missiles, munitions stockpiles, and global military infrastructure.
- Supports additional investments in shipyard infrastructure and recapitalization efforts.
- Requires DoD to assess ways to secure our supply chains for and increase stockpiles of rare earth elements, critical minerals, metals, supplies, services, and materials used for defense technologies
COVID-19 Vaccine Discharges
- Continues the prohibition on adverse action on any servicemember who refuses to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Provides a path back to service for those wrongly discharged for refusing to take the vaccine.
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.