Today, the House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014, which determined there will be no military base realignments or closures in 2014. It also increased funding for the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome by $33 million.
The Base Realignment and Closure process, commonly referred to as BRAC, closes excess military installations. This bill prohibits a BRAC round from being proposed, planned, or carried out in 2014. This is especially important for the facilities located at the former Griffiss Air Force Base -- Rome Lab, the Eastern Air Defense Sector (EADS), and the Rome Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) site.
U.S. Representative Richard Hanna voted in favor of the NDAA, an annual bill which is necessary to perform some of the most basic and essential responsibilities of Congress -- such as funding our Armed Forces and national defenses and paying the salaries of our servicemen and women.
"This legislation is a great success for Rome and our defense assets in upstate New York," Rep. Hanna said. "It means no BRAC in 2014 and authorizes a significant funding boost for Rome Lab, recognizing the important high-tech work being done in our community.
"The NDAA also gives our troops a well-deserved raise and protects TRICARE for veterans from cuts. "I am especially pleased to have been able to include an amendment to make it easier for small businesses to compete at all levels of federal contracting so we can help business grow and create more jobs in Central New York and the Southern Tier."
Among the highlights of the bill:
ROME LAB: This bill authorizes a $33 million (24 percent) increase in funding for Rome Lab's research and development efforts, which will maintain Upstate's leadership in advanced, cutting-edge technology innovations that are vital to our modern national security priorities.
TROOP PROVISIONS: This bill provides our war fighters and their families with the care and support they need, deserve and have earned. Among them:
- PAY: This bill authorizes a 1.8 percent pay increase and extends bonuses and special pay for men and women in uniform.
- TRICARE: This bill restates the firmly-held sense of Congress that prior service to our nation is a pre-payment of healthcare benefits in retirement. This bill protects our veterans and does not increase TRICARE fees or take away veteran benefits, as the President's budget proposed. TRICARE is the health benefits program for active duty personnel and other beneficiaries, including dependents of active duty personnel, military retirees, and dependents of retirees.
HANNA AMENDMENTS: Rep. Hanna also included two amendments in the NDAA, one aimed at helping small businesses and the other to condemn the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs):
Hanna IED Amendment: Condemns the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs); expresses support for our Armed Forces and first responders; and supports policies to reduce the use and proliferation of IEDs.
Hanna 'Make Every Small Business Count' Amendment: Makes it easier for small businesses to compete for lower tier subcontracts on federal projects and improves visibility into the health of the industrial base.