While much of the talk in Washington this week has centered on the fiscal cliff and how to rein-in out control federal government spending, Congress has taken a very important step toward protecting national security and providing America's men and women in uniform with the resources they need by approving the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Providing for our common defense is a national priority clearly stated in the U.S. Constitution. This bill will provide our military men and women with the equipment and resources they need to carry out their missions in all corners of a dangerous world. It also provides our servicemen and women and their families with the care and support they need, deserve, and have earned.
The NDAA authorizes a 1.7 percent pay increase and extends bonuses and special pay for our all-volunteer force. It also restates our commitment to affordable quality health care services during retirement for servicemembers and their families by holding the line on cost increases and rejecting Obama Administration proposals to increase some TRICARE fees and establish new TRICARE fees.
There is good news for the Fourth District's two major military installations. Approximately $160 million will be headed to Fort Leonard Wood for vital new military construction projects, including trainee barracks, a vehicle maintenance shop, and a new dental clinic. And, the bill continues support for the family of long-range strike bomber programs, including the B-2, whose home is Whiteman Air Force Base.
The defense bill also contains a provision to prevent Iran from threatening the U.S., its allies, or Iran's neighbors with a nuclear weapon by asserting the U.S. should be prepared to take all necessary measures, including military action, if required as a result of Iran's actions. As a member of the Armed Services Committee and a staunch supporter of our military, I am pleased this bill allows America to both protect itself from outside threats and provide for America's fighters and their families.
On another note, I hope you will join me in saying a prayer for our men and women in uniform who are serving our country and won't be with their families this special time of year. May they come home soon and may you have a very merry Christmas and a blessed new year. Good tidings of great joy to you and yours!