Minnesota Congressman John Kline helped draft the annual national defense bill which passed the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) with overwhelming bipartisan support this week that included important legislation from Kline to ensure Congress keeps faith with our veterans, troops, and their families. The Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), H.R. 4435 -- which serves as the budgetary blueprint for the Pentagon -- is scheduled to be considered by the U.S. House of Representatives later this month.
Kline introduced legislation directing the Pentagon to issue a report detailing how it increased health care costs for more than 4,000 Minnesotans who were covered under the TRICARE Prime program but later removed by the Department of Defense. "I remain committed to reviewing and holding the Pentagon accountable for all changes to the TRICARE program -- and advocating for the best possible health care for our servicemen and women, military retirees, and their families," said Kline, a 25-year veteran of the Marine Corps whose wife was a career Army nurse and son served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Kline also championed a provision in the NDAA which, in the wake of reported misconduct by senior DoD officials, directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review current military ethics programs and provide Congress with an evaluation so needed oversight can be conducted. "Providing oversight is a fundamental role of Congress and we must hold the Pentagon accountable on behalf of our troops and taxpayers," said Kline.
This year's NDAA also maintains Kline's Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program which provides for a stronger and more resilient ready reserve component. Additionally, the NDAA includes Kline's efforts to ensure promises are kept by providing continued funding for the DoD to pay members of Minnesota National Guard's "Red Bulls" and reservists nationwide for their earned time off.
In addition to serving on the House Armed Services Committee, Kline serves as the Chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. In 2012, AMVETS honored Kline at a ceremony with the prestigious "Silver Helmet Award" for his "loyalty and dedication to America's veterans." He and his wife, Vicky, live in Burnsville.