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Congressman Brown Champions Local, National Priorities In Most Progressive National Defense Authorization Act In A Decade

Washington, July 12, 2019
House Armed Services Committee Vice-Chairman Congressman Anthony G. Brown (MD-04) joined fellow Democrats in voting in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020 (H.R. 2500).

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Vice-Chairman Congressman Anthony G. Brown (MD-04) joined fellow Democrats in voting in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020 (H.R. 2500). The bill sets policy for the Department of Defense (DOD), and authorizes $733 billion in spending for national defense and overseas operations. The NDAA was passed by the full House of Representatives with no Republican support. 

 

In this year’s NDAA, the House of Representatives passed a 3.1% military pay increase, enacted reforms of the private military housing system, pushed back against the President’s threats of war in the Middle East, prohibited the President’s use of Defense funding for the wall, and strengthened the DOD’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.

 

“The FY20 NDAA is the most strategic, responsible, and progressive Defense bill Congress has passed in a decade; it reverses President Trump's soft stance on Russia, invests in our servicemembers, and gives us the opportunity to push back on some of the administration’s most destructive Pentagon policies,” said House Armed Services Committee Vice-Chairman Congressman Brown. “As the President continues to politicize the military in an unprecedented manner, it is critical the House continue to pass bills like these, packed with bipartisan provisions that are beneficial to the security of our nation, and common-sense reversals of the President’s worst decisions.”

 

“In this era, where partisanship is the norm, the Democratic members of the Armed Services Committee have worked diligently to preserve our Committee’s long-standing tradition of bipartisanship, and the FY20 NDAA is a reflection of that tradition,” said House Armed Services Chairman Adam Smith. “While this year’s NDAA contains bipartisan provisions, our new Democratic majority has had an undeniable impact on the contents of this bill. Thanks to the leadership of Congressman Brown and other members of our excellent Armed Services Committee, the bill passed today reflects our Democratic values, supports our troops, and provides for a strong national defense enterprise.”

 

The FY20 NDAA includes twelve bills and over twenty amendments proposed by Congressman Brown, and over $614 million in projects that will advance the state’s role as a vanguard that helps keep the U.S. safe. These include policies that will;

  • develop the nation’s national security workforce, expand access to STEM education, increase funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs);
  • prevent the President’s use of DOD funding for the border wall;
  • prohibit the use of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) for conflict with Iran;
  • increase the DOD’s role in combating climate change;
  • encourage greater diversity at the Department of Defense and in the Armed Forces;
  • reverse President Trump’s ban on transgender Americans serving in the Armed Forces;
  • establish a tenants’ bill of rights for those who live in private military housing;
  • extend a 3.1% pay raise to servicemembers, and more.

 

A full list of policies put forward by Congressman Brown can be found below.

 

Investment in Maryland’s Military Installations:

The FY20 NDAA makes investments in Maryland that maintain its status on the front line of our nation’s national security:

  • Joint Base Andrews: $101 million for infrastructure improvements, including a training administration facility and the Presidential aircraft complex.
  • Fort Meade: $426 million for facility improvements at the National Security Agency.
  • Bethesda Naval Hospital: $33 million for medical center addition.
  • Fort Detrick: $28 million for medical research building.
  • Havre de Grace: $12 million for the Army National Guard maintenance shop.
  • Saint Inigoes: $15M for Air Traffic Control Tower.

 

Maryland Aerospace & Defense Industry:

The FY20 NDAA provides an additional $1.2B for Maryland businesses above the President’s budget request, supporting our Maryland communities and continuing the vibrant aerospace and defense industry in our state. Notable increases include advanced technologies such as next generation communications equipment, unmanned air vehicles, additive manufacturing, power systems for directed energy, and advanced radars.

 

War Powers:

  • Floor Amendment #423, led by Rep. Khanna, Rep. Brown, Rep. Garamendi, Rep. Moulton, and Rep. Gaetz, which prevents any funds from being used for military force against Iran unless legislation is passed to authorize such military action. It also clarifies that Congress has not already authorized the use of force against Iran, specifically indicating that the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs do not authorize war with Iran.

 

Southern Border:

  • Prohibits funding for the construction of a wall, barrier, or fence along the southern land border.
  • Eliminates the current authorization for the construction of fences to block drug smuggling corridors, and  prohibits reprogramming of funds into the counter drug account, which has been used by the Administration to do construction along the southern land border.
  • Modifies an authority the DoD uses when deploying active duty personnel to the border to require all support to be reimbursable; and require a waiver that the deployment won’t affect readiness, the support task aligns with the unit’s mission, the task is inherently government and can’t be contracted.
  • Amends the emergency construction authority to limit the total cost of military construction projects undertaken during a national emergency to $500.0 million, with a further limit of $100.0 million for construction

 

Servicemembers & Military Families:

  • Fully funds a 3.1% pay raise for servicemembers.
  • H.R.553, the Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act, co-sponsored by Rep. Brown, which ends the so-called “widow’s tax,” a dollar-for-dollar offset of payments between the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) and the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) program, and ensures the families of servicemembers are cared for in the event of their death.
  • H.R.563, the DD-214 Modernization Act, and H.R.3176, the DD-214 Efficiency Act, which modernize the transition process for today’s service members by including a box specifically for e-mail addresses on the DD-214, or the Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, and ensure the form can be electronically transferred. 
  • H.R.3178, the Second Lieutenant Richard W. Collins III Memorial Act, which ensures that the survivors of deceased graduates of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps receive the same support and benefits provided to active duty personnel.
  • Addresses the issues with private military housing by establishing a tenants’ bill of rights, requiring an assessment of health and safety hazards, prohibiting the use of non-disclosure agreements, includes the provisions of H.R.3505, which allows commanders to conduct inspections on behalf of their servicemembers, and includes provisions of H.R.2811, co-sponsored by Rep. Brown, which requires the Inspector General to audit private housing.
  • H.R.1863, led by Rep. Norcross and co-sponsored by Rep. Brown, that requires blood testing for firefighters of the Department of Defense to determine potential exposure to perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, and for other purposes.

 

Workforce:

  • H.R.2756, the Developing the National Security Workforce Act, which incentivizes contractors to invest in workforce development programs to address workforce needs and evaluate the past performance of workforce development programs.
  • H.R.3087, the Permanent Authorization for the Mentor-Protege Program Act, which makes permanent a Department of Defense program that grows disadvantaged business enterprises through partnerships with established defense contractors.
  • H.R.1534, the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act, co-sponsored by Rep. Brown, which  guarantees 12 weeks of paid leave for the birth of a child, to care for a relative with a serious health condition, or to support the family when a relative is called to covered active duty.

 

Education:

  • H.R.3175, the HOMECOMING Research Act, which forms the National Security Commission on Defense Research Conducted by HBCUs and Minority Institutions. The commission will address inequality in defense funding and identify ways to build research capacity at HBCUs and other minority institutions. The bill additionally requires an assessment of university subcontracts with HBCUs as part of the evaluation of the award of future research grants.
  • H.R.3173, the Creating STEM Opportunities in JROTC Act, which encourages institutions hosting a unit of the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps provide instruction in STEM fields.
  • Protects endangered funding for the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), a consortium of universities that investigate terrorism and counterterrorism efforts headquartered at the University of Maryland.
  • Increases funding for the HBCU and minority serving institutions program to $50.7M, $20M more than the President’s Budget and a $10M over the FY2019 authorization. The program funds scholarships and research opportunities for minorities. Additionally, the bill reinforces the importance of minorities to defense research, to include explicit language supporting minority women.

 

Diversity & Inclusion:

  • H.R.3174, the Defense Anti-Discrimination Act, which requires the Department of Defense to update the workplace and equal opportunity and workplace and gender relations surveys to include experiences with supremacist activity, extremist activity, or racism.
  • Requires the Department of Defense to issue a new diversity and inclusion strategy to ensure minorities are more fully represented in the officer corps.
  • H.R.3166, led by Rep. Hastings and Rep. Brown, which requires the Department of Defense to assess their forms and surveys for discriminatory and racist terms, and correct any deficiencies.
  • Floor Amendment #3, led by Rep. Speier and co-sponsored by Rep. Brown, which codifies the military’s existing non-discrimination standards and requires that all service members be afforded equal opportunity in an environment free from harassment, including sexual harassment, and unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including gender identity), or sexual orientation.
  • Floor Amendment #4, which requires the Department of Defense to report on individuals affected by the transgender service ban, thus helping track and quantify the costs of exclusionary policy.
  • Floor Amendment #121, led by Rep. Cummings and co-sponsored by Rep. Brown, which requires the Department of Defense to improve its ability to detect and address racial, ethnic, and gender disparities in the military justice system.

 

Partners and Allies:

  • H.R.3202, the Strengthening Support of NATO Through Dual Use Infrastructure Act, which requires the Department of Defense to identify the value of investment in NATO infrastructure and provide recommendations on projects that the United States can provide support.

 

Climate Change:

  • H.R.3227, the Securing Energy for our Armed Forces Using Engineering Leadership Act of 2019, co-sponsored with Rep. Don Beyer and David Schweikert (R-AZ), which invests in carbon capture technology to enhance our military readiness, improve our fuel security, and help spur innovation in the private sector to address climate change.
  • H.R.3309, the Overseas Installations Climate Resiliency Act, which requires a report on vulnerabilities from sea level rise to military installations located outside the continental United States.
  • Requires all proposals for military construction projects to consider potential long-term changes in environmental conditions, and increasingly frequent extreme weather events, as well as, industry best-practices to withstand extreme weather events.

 

Health:

  • Invests in research of advanced medical technology such as freeze-dried blood products, which reduce the loss of life by ensuring injured individuals have a greater chance of reaching a medical facility and receiving the life saving treatment they need.

 

Innovation:

  • H.R.3177, the National Defense Accelerator Network Act of 2019, which continues to reinvigorate the dual use innovation ecosystem in the United States, that in the 1950s and early 1960s led to radar and microelectronics technologies. 

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