Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-4) today praised House passage of the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act by a bipartisan vote of 315-107. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee Palazzo worked on the committee level to include shipbuilding provisions, a prohibition on base realignment and closures (BRAC), and provisions protecting the successful Lakota helicopter program. Palazzo released the following statement:
"In a world that's increasingly hostile, we must ensure our troops have the tools to meet the challenges we face today while preparing for the threats we will face tomorrow. This bill accomplishes that goal while addressing serious issues within the Department of Defense: issues with sexual assault, failures in Benghazi, threats of costly BRAC plans that might disrupt current operations. At the same time, it continues to provide a much-deserved troop pay increase of 1.8% and protects TRICARE beneficiaries from rising costs.
"As Congress continues working to ensure our warfighters have all the training, equipment, and support necessary to carry out their mission, we must also renew efforts to replace and revisit the damaging sequestration cuts that threaten future readiness."
In Committee, Palazzo successfully secured a shipbuilding amendment that called for prioritizing Navy funds and specifically identified the disparity between the Marine Corps' request for amphibious ships and current ship numbers. The majority of the Navy's amphibious ships are built by Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Palazzo also oversaw language to restore 31 Lakota helicopters that had been cut in the president's budget. The helicopters are built for the Army and the National Guard by EADS North America at the American Eurocopter facility in Columbus, Mississippi.
The bill was passed on June 14th, the dual observance of Flag Day and the 238th birthday of the Army.