Spokane, Wash. – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) and Congressman Sanford Bishop (GA-02), co-chairs of the Military Family Caucus, hosted the 14th annual Military Family Summit at Fairchild Air Force Base earlier this month. The Military Family Summit brings together service members and their families with Department of Defense officials and military family support organizations to discuss the most pressing issues facing military families today, including access to affordable housing, new economic opportunity, and ensuring Fairchild Air Force Base is equipped with everything they need to lead.
Click here or the image above to watch a recap of this year’s event.
The following are excerpts of Cathy’s remarks as prepared for delivery.
The Military Family Caucus
“Together, Congressman Bishop and I founded the Military Family Caucus and have hosted this summit every year since 2009. In Congress, our caucus continues to work on solutions to some of the unique challenges you and your families face everyday.
“We’re all here today to talk about your experience with these issues and get on the same page on how we can better serve you. That is our mission. We want to hear from you, so that we know what your priorities are as military families.
More Affordable Housing for Military Families
“In Congress, one of my focuses this year has been on military families’ lack of access to affordable housing. I know this has unfortunately affected many of you here at Fairchild Air Force Base, which is especially troubling given the current state of our economy. We must do better.
“As soon as it came to my attention that the Fairchild local housing market was unable to meet military housing demand, I immediately went to work calling on Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall to reevaluate the housing needs here with the goal of building more housing around Fairchild.
“I also helped secure a large investment for military construction and military housing projects throughout the United States in the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act.
Ensuring Military Families are Economically Secure
“Another issue I’ve been focusing on is ensuring military families are economically secure during this uncertain time when our country is facing record-high inflation.
“The good news is that I recently helped secure a nearly 5% pay increase for servicemembers as well as a 2.4% pay bonus for enlisted personnel through the NDAA.
“Another major win I helped pass through the NDAA is the permanent authorization of requiring professional licenses from any state to be accepted as equivalent in other states for military spouses who are under orders.
Standing By Fairchild Air Force Base
“I hope you all know, Fairchild Air Force Base holds a very special place in my heart. For years, I have advocated for you incredible men and women who serve selflessly on this base here in Eastern Washington, and that work continues.
“I solidified a provision in the NDAA that ensures the Air Force does not retire the KC-135 aircraft without a 1-for-1 replacement with the new KC-46A tanker.
“On top of that, I also helped secure language in the NDAA that requires the Air Force and Air National Guard to maintain a fleet of fixed wing, manned intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft such as the RC-26b or another new aircraft with equivalent or improved capabilities to conduct operations.”
CLICK HERE to watch the full video of this year’s event.