On Friday, June 14th the House of Representatives approved the annual defense bill (NDAA), which authorizes funding and sets policy for the Department of Defense.
At its core, this year's NDAA takes significant steps to protect and support American servicemembers, American businesses and America's national security. I worked across the aisle to author numerous sections of this bill that will ultimately give the men and women of our armed forces state-of-the-art resources for their increased safety and success, as well as support the innovative businesses and military bases, many right here in Massachusetts, that develop them.
Massachusetts brings together a unique combination of military, academic, industrial and business resources to form a leading defense innovation hub - this remarkable synergy positions our communities for economic growth and strongly supports the brave men and women of the United States military.
My amendment with Rep. Mike Michaud of Maine boosts local and national footwear manufacturing while simultaneously providing assistance to US servicemembers. By requiring the purchase of American-made products, we are supporting innovative companies on American soil, such as New Balance right here in Lawrence, and providing quality gear to our troops.
I also authored several provisions that highlight the innovative work being done at Natick Soldier Systems and Hanscom Air Force Base. For example, a provision I authored urges the continued, long-term development of technology developed at Hanscom which has proven to be a critical communications tool for servicemembers in Afghanistan.
I also supported an amendment authored by my colleague Rep. Jim McGovern that calls on the Administration to proceed with a responsible timetable to remove U.S. troops from Afghanistan, and also states that we should have a chance to vote on any troop presence after 2014. This amendment was included in the bill with both Republican and Democratic support.
As with all bills of this size, there were pieces that I was not happy with, such as the final spending amount which was higher than what the President originally proposed. I also oppose the continued funding for Guantanamo Bay and back measures to close the detention facility. As we move forward with this process, I will continue to work with my colleagues in the House and Senate to reconcile some of the defects in this bill.
Please be sure to scroll down to read more information on some of the other topics on which I have been working.
As always, I hope that you continue to provide me with your thoughts, feedback, and opinions on these or any other subjects via my website or on Facebook and Twitter.