House Again Passes the National Defense Authorization Act
Washington, D.C. – Today, the U. S. House of Representatives again passed the Fiscal Year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), S. 1356. It was necessary for Congress to reconsider this bipartisan, bicameral legislation after President Obama vetoed it on October 22, 2015.
It is one of the main responsibilities of the federal government to provide for a strong defense to protect our homeland and national security, and the annual NDAA is the primary way Congress meets this constitutional obligation. The NDAA addresses the base budget requirements for operation and maintenance for our military, sustains our national defense capabilities, and provides for our readiness, cyber, and intelligence needs. This year’s NDAA also addresses acquisition reform, compensation and benefit reform, and workforce management in addition to tackling wasteful or inefficient programs.
Following the passage of the bill, Congressman Ryan Costello (PA-06) released the following statement: “Ensuring our military is properly equipped is one of the fundamental requirements of Congress, especially at a time when we are facing growing and complex security threats, and this legislation provides for this readiness. The President’s veto of the NDAA jeopardizes the safety and security of our men and women in uniform and it is time for him, as our Commander in Chief, to sign this bipartisan bill.”
Other key provisions of the NDAA include:
- A 1.3% across-the-board pay raise for servicemembers;
- The ability for certain military retirees to regain access to TRICARE Prime;
- A streamlined and reformed acquisition program;
- A delay in the transfer of the 48 AH-64 Apache helicopters from the Army National Guard, including Pennsylvania, to active Army; and
- The ability for the 83% of the men and women in uniform that previously were not eligible for military retirement to participate in a portable and matched retirement plan.
During consideration of the NDAA, Costello offered an amendment that would express strong support for providing the Army with tactical wheeled vehicle protection kits to ensure troops have the most advanced and effective vehicle armor critical to their safety and mobility. He also cosponsored an amendment offered by Congressman Pat Meehan of Pennsylvania that would express the importance of strong communication systems for the National Guard in the event of a cyber or terrorist attack. Both of these provisions have been included in the NDAA.