Alaskan Congressman Don Young voted today in favor of H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2013 (NDAA) -- a bill that contains several of Rep. Young's amendments, including one that deals with Eielson Air Force Base. Critically important to our men and women in uniform, this legislation authorizes roughly $642 billion in National Defense funding. H.R. 4310 passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 299 to 120.
In response to ongoing force structure reductions taking place at Eielson AFB, Rep. Young attached an amendment to H.R. 4310 which gives Congress additional oversight over current and future large military force reductions. By fully evaluating the long-term costs and benefits and the local economic, environmental, strategic, and operational consequences of the proposed reduction, this amendment increases Congress' oversight over military force reductions.
"My amendment is necessary in ensuring that a "backdoor BRAC' doesn't take place," said Rep. Young. "The data must match up with the rationale -- especially in the case of Eielson. The Defense Department must dot every "I' and cross every "T' to prove to me, and all Alaskans that the F-16 move is in the best interests of this country."
H.R. 4310 also includes an amendment introduced by Rep. Young that deals with the Strategic Seaports Study, including the Port of Anchorage, that was part of last year's Defense Authorizations. Specifically, the amendment calls for the Department of Defense (DOD) to expedite completion of the study and to provide a copy of the report to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to ensure the facilities at strategic seaports meet the Department of Defense's requirements.
Additionally, Rep. Young was successful in attaching language that will encourage the DOD to, where operationally and economically feasible, consider state government space facilities like the Kodiak Launch Complex for more future small and medium lift launches from Kodiak.
"This bill accomplishes one of Congress' most important responsibilities -- funding and authorizing the military," said Rep. Young. "Let us not forget that we are still a nation at war with responsibilities around the world. It is Congress' duty to provide the resources our armed forces and their families need in order to carry out their mission. This is a responsible piece of legislation that ensures America can defend itself against the threats we face, but also helps chart a path to fiscal sanity by adhering to the House-passed budget."
Some additional highlights of H.R. 4310 include:
An amendment that Rep. Young voted for, that affirms U.S. citizens' habeas corpus rights. This amendment, sponsored by Reps. Louie Gohmert (TX), Jeff Landry (LA) and Scott Rigell (VA) passed the House by bipartisan vote of 243-173.
Authorizes a 1.7% pay increase and extends bonuses and special pay for our men and women in uniform.
Supports a robust national missile defense, including allocating at least $205,000,000 to upgrade Missile Field 1 at Fort Greely.