Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), voted last night in support of the bipartisan military spending bill known as the National Defense Authorization Act that will support our troops and provide critical funding for improvements at several Maryland military installations. The legislation, which authorizes $633.3 billion in discretionary spending on national defense programs in fiscal year 2013, passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 315 to 107.
The legislation includes a pay raise of 1.7 percent for the troops and endorses the transition of lead responsibility for security in Afghanistan to the Afghan people by mid-2013. It improves efforts to combat sexual violence in the military and enhance mental health care for troops. It also strengthens sanctions against Iran, including anyone involved in supplying any materials to be used in connection with Iran's energy, shipping and shipbuilding sectors and its ports.
"This bill reflects our economic reality -- that we have to do more with less -- and prioritizes planning for the threats of tomorrow," Congressman Ruppersberger said. "Most importantly, it prioritizes the wellbeing of our troops and their families."
The bill contains language to relax export restrictions on American satellites and their parts -- the culmination of more than five years of effort by Congressman Ruppersberger on behalf of American manufacturers. The long-overdue changes will give American companies a fighting chance to recapture the tremendous market share lost to foreign competitors over the past decade.
The Act includes funding of particular interest to Maryland's Second District:
$251 million for building improvements and a high performance computing center at the National Security Agency at Fort Meade.
$1 million for the Aberdeen Proving Ground Army Reserve Center.
$10 million for the Baltimore Army Reserve Center near Curtis Bay.