The House Armed Services Committee completed and approved its markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2014 with a bipartisan vote of 59 to 2. This legislation provides budget authority for the Department of Defense as well as the national security programs at the Department of Energy. The NDAA markup approved today includes provisions to give our troops a pay raise and crack down on sexual assault in the military. The Committee also rejected price increases in TRICARE, the military health insurance program.
"I recently returned from Afghanistan more appreciative than ever of the courage and service of our men and women in uniform," said Congressman Gallego. "This legislation gives our service members a much deserved pay-increase. Our nation is built on the valiant service of our troops - they deserve it because they earn it."
The NDAA included language to crack down on sexual assault in the military.
"Sexual assault has no place in the military or anywhere in our society," added Congressman Gallego. "Parents have entrusted their kids to the armed services so that they can defend our country and fight our enemies -- not fight off their fellow servicemen or women. Our country owes it to them to keep them safe from sexual abuse or other illegal acts."
The NDAA markup also includes funding to continue to build and support the Afghan National Security Forces, thus assuring that our troops transition to a supportive role in the Afghan conflict and that the Afghan National Security Forces take primary responsibility for protecting their own country.
"The legislation brings us closer to our core objective of denying terrorists safe haven -- while reducing the impact on service members and their families," added Congressman Gallego. "Building the capacity of Afghan security forces is necessary so that they can continue to take on a bigger role in protecting their own country and ensuring it does not once again become a safe haven for planning terrorist attacks."
Other provisions in the NDAA include:
Providing a one-year extension of authority for certain pay and benefits to Department of Defense civilian personnel who are forward-deployed, performing critical operations overseas and in combat zones. These pay and benefit issues are critical to ensuring that the Department can attract and retain quality civil servants who support the nation's men and women in uniform.
Requiring the Government Accountability Office to assess how the furlough of civilian employees is being implemented by the Department of Defense. The furlough mandate is having a significant impact on the civilian workforce.
Fully funding and support U.S. Special Operations Command.
The NDAA is expected to be considered by the full House next week.