The House today passed (299-120) the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (NDAA). Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono (HI-02) supported the bill and released the following statement on the vote:
"I voted for the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act because this bill is important to the servicemen and women of our country and their families, and it's important for Hawaii. Our troops will receive a 1.7 percent pay increase and TRICARE premiums for military retirees will remain tied to the cost-of-living adjustment. Also, measures to prevent sexual assault in the military were included, which is welcome news.
"We will also be able to create jobs through the $372 million in construction projects at Hawaii's military installations, including Schofield Barracks, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and Kaneohe Bay. This will provide a needed economic boost to our state.
"However, like so many of the votes that have come before us in the 112th Congress, this bill contains provisions that raise serious concerns. For example, this bill does not include the changes I voted for to the detainee provisions; it slows down the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan; and it undermines President Obama's efforts to reduce nuclear weapons.
"The bill's ending of support for a number of alternative fuels is also a serious national security concern. Military leaders recognize that it'd be better to find more home-grown clean fuels than put our troops in harm's way moving oil in convoys.
"At this time when so many of our families are still struggling, making sure we take a balanced approach to our debt and budget is vital. Projects like a new missile defense system on the East Coast that even our military leaders oppose or deem unnecessary, should be eliminated. It's alarming that this spending bill is over the President's budget request and $8 billion over the Budget Control Act.
"My hope is the Senate will address these serious issues and include more job creating and cost-saving measures as well as the Democratic language requiring that U.S.-flagged military ships needing repairs get those repairs here at home. That could be a real boost for Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. I hope to see a final bill that continues to support our troops and makes sure they have the resources they need, that keeps our country safe and creates jobs here at home."