Congresswoman Shelley Berkley today voted for legislation that enhances military readiness for the 21st Century, strengthens counterterrorism and increases support for those serving in America's armed forces and their families. The House passed the National Defense Authorization Act this afternoon on a vote of 229 to 186.
"We must ensure that America's armed forces have the tools to keep our nation -- and our families -- safe from harm and terrorist threats. That is why I support the provisions in this package that enhance military readiness and protections for our troops in the field," said Berkley. "We invest billions of dollars to ensure our forces have the equipment and armor needed on the battlefield, including protections against IEDs and other battlefield threats. And we make historic investments in nonproliferation programs to keep deadly nuclear materials and weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of our enemies."
The bill ensures soldiers have the support they need on the battlefield when they return to their loved ones.
"As a reward for their dedication, we are giving our troops a 1.9% pay raise, and extending TRICARE coverage to dependent children up to age 26. This package also increases the separation allowance for troops required to live away from their families during deployment," said Berkley.
Also included in the legislation is a provision that repeals "Don't Ask Don't Tell" contingent on the Department of Defense completing its review and the President, Secretary of Defense, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs certifying that the repeal would not impact military readiness.
"Ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell' will uphold our country's promise of liberty and equality for all and I am a long-standing supporter of repealing this outdated ban. The legislation we approved will allow lesbian, gay, and bisexual Americans to serve proudly in our armed forces," said Berkley. "When we eliminate discrimination in our armed forces, we make America's military stronger and our freedoms more secure and it's the nation that benefits from the talent and skill these brave men and women bring to our fighting forces."