Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) released a statement Friday following the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 [HR 1960] which included a pair of amendments introduced by Fitzpatrick:
"The passage of the NDAA goes a long way to addressing the financial needs of our fighting men and women while, at the same time, moving toward more sustainable spending levels here in Washington.
I am pleased that a pair of my bipartisan amendments were added to this legislation, including directing for a study on veteran-owned business contract as well as securing the popular Military Tuition Assistance program for our active duty warriors."
Fitzpatrick's amendments passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act include:
Protection for Military Tuition Assistance: This amendment prevents the Department of Defense from ending a popular tuition assistance program. In March 2013, the Administration ended a popular tuition assistance program for active duty members, reservists and National Guards members. It took an Act of Congress to reverse that decision. This amendment makes it clear that the Administration must continue to assist military members attending high school completion courses, vocational course or classes toward associate or bachelor's, master's or doctorate degrees after hours. In 2012 over 300,000 service members utilized the Tuition Assistance program to advance their educational goals.
Department of Defense Study on Veteran Small Business Contracting: This amendment would require the Department of Defense to study the impact of Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) contracting and increased economic opportunities for veterans on issues such as unemployment, suicide and homelessness. It would also require the Department of Defense to provide an analysis on the feasibility and impacts of a "Veterans First' style contracting program that would give priority for government contracts to VOSBs and Service-Disabled Veterans Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSBs).