This week the House Armed Services Committee, on which I serve, passed the FY 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) out of committee to better protect the people of the United States and to provide much-needed resources to America's military personnel.
This NDAA provides our military with the funding it needs to address existing and emerging threats to our country as well as to Americans at home and throughout the world. And, it provides for our men and women in uniform by supporting a 1.8 percent pay raise while rejecting Department of Defense requests for increases in TRICARE fees.
I am very pleased that Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base, combined, will benefit from more than $100 million in military construction funds approved as part of the base bill. At Fort Leonard Wood this will mean funding for a number of projects including a training barracks complex. Whiteman Air Force Base would receive funding for weapons storage areas and an Army National Guard aircraft maintenance hangar. I also was pleased to see a number of initiatives supporting tactical vehicle armor development, 3D integrated circuits, and nanotechnologies, just to name a few, incorporated in the bill.
A component of this Defense bill that will be of interest to those working at and living near Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base is language prohibiting the Department of Defense from proposing, planning, or initiating another round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC). Another round of BRAC could harm America's ability to defend itself, waste scarce defense dollars, and result in economic uncertainty for communities near military installations across the land.
Having been approved by the House Armed Services Committee, the NDAA now moves to the full House for its consideration.
On another matter, I am pleased to share information on a new website designed to allow citizens to weigh in and to actually "cosponsor" bills that are before Congress.
Www.Cosponsor.gov is tied to actual legislative proposals that have been introduced by sitting Members of Congress -- not just for Republican bills, but for every piece of legislation that has been introduced. The views of our constituents back home in the districts will give Members of Congress some valuable input as they determine the validity of various bills. The site also offers users an easy way to track the progress of bills as they move through the House as the site enables readers to search by title, sponsor, or bill number. This is the latest in a series of online initiatives to increase transparency of the House.
We must never forget that our government belongs to the people and should work for the people of this country. I always appreciate hearing how citizens of Missouri's Fourth District feel about legislation being considered in Washington, and hope you will call or email my office to share your perspective with me.
Have a good week.