After working to have his No Tolerance and Iron Dome amendments added to the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) during Armed Services Committee mark up, Congressman Joe Heck (NV-03) today announced that those amendments were included as part of the final defense authorization bill which passed the House by a vote of 315 to 108 . The bill also included language Rep. Heck inserted to prevent the Department of Defense from prohibiting travel to cities like Las Vegas for conferences. The NDAA provides funding and authorities for America's military. This year marks the fifty-second consecutive defense authorization act. The FY14 NDAA authorizes $552.1 billion in spending for national defense and overseas military operations. The "must pass" nature of the NDAA gives Rep. Heck's amendments an increased chance of becoming law.
"I am pleased that these amendments and the report language have made it into the final version of the NDAA and I look forward to continuing to work with members of the House and Senate to see that they are included in the final defense authorization bill."
Rep. Heck's "No Tolerance" amendment is aimed at protecting the newest members of the armed forces from being subjected to inappropriate sexual contact or relationships during the recruiting and training process. The amendment requires the establishment of uniform regulations defining inappropriate and prohibited relationships between military personnel in supervisory roles and new members of the military. It would also require that any military personnel found in violation of those regulations, including when such an action is consensual to, at minimum, be processed for administrative separation from the service. This amendment comes amid growing concerns over the increase and prevalence of sexual assault within military ranks.
"An inappropriate relationship, whether consensual or not, carried out under the color of authority has no place in the United States military. The No Tolerance amendment sends a strong message that inappropriate sexual relationships between superiors and entry-level military members will not be tolerated."
The Iron Dome/U.S. production line amendment will create jobs, boost American manufacturing, and strengthen U.S.-Israeli cooperation. The amendment requires that the $15 million in additional funds authorized to be spent on developing increased capabilities for the Iron Dome missile defense system is used to create a US-based production line. The additional production line will provide increased production capacity for Iron Dome interceptors and components as well as ensure that our Israeli allies have the defensive capabilities they need to defend against a sustained rocket attack.
"At a time when there is a need to both boost American manufacturing and help keep our ally Israel secure in an increasingly volatile Middle East, this amendment will enable us to achieve both of those crucial objectives."
The bill also included report language inserted by Congressman Heck that would prevent the Department of Defense from restricting travel for conferences to cities, such as Las Vegas, based on their perception as resort or vacation destinations rather than cost considerations. Report language is used to establish Congressional intent which helps direct decision making for federal agencies, in this case the Department of Defense. The full text of Rep. Heck's report language is attached.
"Cities like Las Vegas should not be unfairly restricted from hosting government conferences just because of their reputation as resort or vacation destinations. In truth, traveling to and staying in Las Vegas is often cheaper than visiting other major cities. Decisions on where to host Defense Department conferences should be made on a case-by-case basis and take into consideration the costs to taxpayers. This report language clearly establishes that intent."