Congresswoman Niki Tsongas was appointed today by Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner to serve as a conferee to the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Committee. The NDAA authorizes funding and sets policy for the Department of Defense. This is the second year in a row that Congresswoman Tsongas has been appointed a NDAA conferee.
Congressional procedure calls for a Conference Committee to be formed when the House and Senate draft differing pieces of legislation regarding the same topic. The Conference Committee, comprised of appointees from both parties and both chambers, reconciles the differences between the two drafts and presents one reconciled piece of legislation for a vote.
Congresswoman Tsongas has served on the House Armed Services Committee since she was elected in 2007, and is the only Representative from Massachusetts to serve on that Committee. She has quickly become a senior member and a leader on numerous issues, such as the prevention of sexual assault in the military and improving soldier body armor.
The House of Representatives passed their version of the NDAA in May, 2012. That bill included several provisions authored by Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, including a significant increase in funding to develop better fitting and lighter-weight body armor, measures to further strengthen the military's sexual assault prevention policies, and language providing a critical first step to help ensure the retention of the military's mission at Hanscom Air Force Base and Lincoln Labs.
"As a Conferee to the NDAA Conference Committee, I will be in a position to strongly advocate for provisions that will better protect our servicemen and women, as well as support the Massachusetts companies that are creating jobs and leading the way in military innovation," said Congresswoman Tsongas. "I thank Speaker Boehner for appointing me to this role and look forward to working in the same bipartisan spirit to ensure our military men and women receive the most effective resources available in the most efficient way possible."
The Conference Committee will begin negotiations with the goal of completing a final draft of the legislation before Congress adjourns for the year.