Three of Rep. Shalala’s amendments were included in the final passage of the bill
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL) joined with her colleagues in passing the first National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of the new Democratic majority. This bill helps create a smarter national defense posture with a tougher stance on Russia, along with continued collaboration with the United States’ allies, eliminates wasteful spending, promotes a more inclusive military by reinforcing the values of diversity, STEM and integration, and solidifies Congress’ oversight role of defense programs and the authorization for use of military force.
“I am proud to pass this bill because, above all, it puts the most valuable asset in our national defense strategy – our servicemembers – first,” said Rep. Shalala. “I’m particularly proud to have secured passage of three amendments that support our troops and bring more fairness to military spending.”
Three of Rep. Shalala’s amendments were included in the final passage of this bill. The first would allow the Secretary Defense to review the amount of DOD Tuition Assistance funds for-profit colleges receive annually and publish those findings online. This amendment would give our active duty servicemembers access to valuable information, so that they may utilize their benefits at institutions that will provide the highest quality education and allow them to reach their goals.
The second amendment increases competition in the U.S. Air Force (USAF) contracting process by eliminating requirements in USAF contracts that currently give the biggest manufacturers a competitive advantage. This would be a boon to small competitors in South Florida, putting them on the same playing field as some of the nation’s largest defense contractors, and a smart, cost-saving approach that uses taxpayer dollars as efficiently and effectively as possible.
The third amendment requires the Department of Defense to correct the military records of more than 100,000 servicemembers, discharged since World War II, solely because of their sexual orientation. Amending servicemembers’ discharge classifications would allow impacted individuals to access the benefits they rightly deserve.
Rep. Shalala also helped secure passage of an amendment to classify 9-1-1 dispatchers as first responders, giving these professionals the recognition, they deserve for their work to protect and save lives.
In addition to executing Congress’ important constitutional obligation to “provide for the common defense,” the FY20 NDAA also outlines several other important provisions, such as:
- Including a blanket prohibition on funding for the construction of a wall, barrier, or fence along the southern border;
- Giving our troops a 3.1 percent pay raise;
- Requiring the Department of Defense to submit a certification that any housing provided to unaccompanied alien children meets certain standards;
- Authorizing financial assistance to civilian child care providers who care for the children of survivors of members who die in the line of duty;
- Requiring all proposals for military construction projects to consider impacts of climate change;
- Requiring the DOD to monitor instances of supremacist activity, extremist activity, or racism;
- Improving access to all forms of contraception for servicemembers and emergency contraception for survivors of sexual assault;
- Requiring briefings to Congress on Russian election interference and efforts to disrupt U.S. alliances, among other provisions.