Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) voted today for final House passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2014. The legislation authorizes more than $400 million for Hawai"i defense priorities, and contains other measures strongly supported by Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. The bill passed the House today by a vote of 315-108.
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard supported several critical provisions in the House-passed bill, including:
-Authorization for military construction funds, including $65 million for Fort Shafter, $236 million for Kaneohe Bay, $58 million for Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, $37 million for Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, and $2.6 million for Ford Island -- DISA.
-A requirement that the Department of Defense keep a THAAD missile defense system in Guam, full funding for Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense in Hawai"i, and strengthened ballistic missile defense in the Pacific region. Recently, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard testified to the House Armed Services Committee in support of strong missile defense provisions.
-An amendment to strengthen and reform the backlogged Special Immigrant Visa program for Iraqi and Afghan citizens who have bravely served alongside American troops during war. The congresswoman introduced the amendment and spoke in support of the measure on the House floor today. It passed with an overwhelming vote of 420-3.
-A requirement for accelerated troop drawdown in Afghanistan and justification by the President for any American troops on the ground after 2014.
"This bipartisan Defense authorization bill provides good jobs in Hawai"i and ensures Hawai"i's significant role in our national security strategy and rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region," said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. "The legislation includes key provisions to responsibly end the war in Afghanistan, and honor our commitments to those courageous Iraqi and Afghan civilians, such as essential combat interpreters, who risked their own lives and the safety of their families to serve alongside our troops. I was pleased to see that our missile defense has been allocated the resources necessary to create a strong deterrence and defensive capability to protect Hawai"i and the mainland United States.
"However, I was disappointed that my bipartisan Military Justice Improvement Act to protect victims of military sexual assault was blocked from a vote on the House floor this week. This is not an issue that can be ignored. I will continue to work to make sure that we are honoring our selfless heroes by resolving this issue."
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has pledged to continue working to ensure that Hawai"i's priorities and these other critical provisions are included in the final House-Senate conference bill that is expected to pass later this year.