WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Senate voted 85-10 last night to
approve the John S. McCain III National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for
Fiscal Year 2019.
Named after Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) and
co-authored by U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the Ranking Member of the
Committee, the NDAA authorizes funding to equip, supply, and train our troops
and provide for military families.
The FY19 NDAA supports a total of $716 billion for national
defense programs, including a base budget of $639 billion for the Department of
Defense and the national security programs of the Department of Energy and
nearly $69 billion for overseas contingency operations.
This marks the 57th consecutive year that the Committee has
come together on a bipartisan basis to advance a defense policy bill. The
next step will be for Senate negotiators, including Ranking Member Reed, to get
together with their counterparts in the U.S. House of Representatives to
resolve differences in the bills passed by each respective chamber.
The Senate-passed NDAA includes a number of key provisions
that were championed by Senator Reed to enhance national security, support our
servicemembers, and strengthen our nation's maritime capacity and
capabilities. The bill authorizes a 2.6 percent pay raise for our troops
and makes major reforms in several critical areas including acquisition,
military health care, and the military's personnel system.
In an effort to cut waste and reduce unnecessary defense
expenditures not in line with the National Defense Strategy, the bill
authorizes the Pentagon to terminate redundant or inefficient programs.
In a bipartisan rebuke to the Trump Administration’s efforts
to ease sanctions on the Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE Corporation, the
Senate-passed bill strictly prohibits the Pentagon from procuring or obtaining,
as well as entering into, extending, or renewing a contract with an entity that
uses telecommunications equipment or services produced by Huawei Technologies
Company or ZTE Corp.
Reed also helped include key funding for the Navy's
modernization efforts - including submarine construction - and policies
designed to strengthen our cybersecurity defenses, improve readiness, and
prepare for evolving and emerging threats around the globe.
“This bipartisan NDAA will help strengthen our military,
modernize equipment, and provide our troops with a well-deserved pay
raise. I salute Chairman John McCain and Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) for
their leadership and bipartisan collaboration to ensure our troops have a
budget and policies to match their extraordinary courage and sacrifice,” said
Senator Reed, who noted that the 85-10 margin of the bipartisan vote was large
enough to overcome any veto from President Trump.
Reed noted that he does not support every provision in the
NDAA, but it makes important investments in readiness and modernization and
includes several needed reforms.
“The NDAA includes much-needed submarine funding and
continues vital work being done in Rhode Island to advance the next generation
of undersea technologies,” said Reed. “Congress must work on a bipartisan
basis to ensure our forces have the right tools to conduct operations and help
our allies combat threats around the globe. Advancing this bill is a
significant step toward achieving that objective.”
A number of Rhode Island-related projects and priorities are
included in this bipartisan defense legislation now set to be considered by the
Senate, such as:
$7.4 billion for the Virginia-class submarine program, including an additional
$250 million for either economic order quantity procurement or for initiatives
to expand the submarine industrial supply base. The bill supports the ten
boat, multi-year contract that the Navy and Electric Boat signed in April 2014;
$3 billion to fully support the Columbia-class (Ohio-class Replacement)
$78 million, which is $20 million more than the budget request, to accelerate
undersea warfare applied research;
$40 million in supplemental Impact Aid, and $10 million in Impact Aid for
schools with military dependent children with severe disabilities. The
bill does not include proposals to divert Impact Aid funding to establish a
school voucher program for military dependent children.
Expresses the committee's support for the critical role that the Defense
Institute for International Legal Studies (DIILS) at Naval Station Newport
plays in building the defense legal capacity of partner nations to promote
accountability, fight corruption, and comply with human rights and the law of
armed conflict. The bill directs a review of DIILS' facility requirements
to ensure that the Institute is able to fulfill its expanding mission.
Makes permanent the Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business
Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) program at DOD.
The NDAA also reflects other priorities backed by Senator
Reed to sustain and improve the quality of life for our men and women in
uniform and their families. The bill includes a number of provisions to
address employment challenges faced by military spouses; expands respite care
under the TRICARE extended care program to align with Medicaid; eliminates
copays for contraception under TRICARE; and requires a comprehensive three-year
pilot program to minimize opioid exposure of military personnel and their
Now that separate versions of the NDAA have been approved by
both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, both houses of
Congress will come together for a conference committee to resolve differences
between the bills. The conference committee must agree on a single
conference report, which is then submitted to each chamber. The conference
report must be approved by both the House and the Senate before it may be sent
to the President to be signed into law.