Granger, Barr, Stivers commend House passage of final NDAA

The U.S. House of Representatives on Dec. 11 approved comprehensive legislation to authorize the nation’s defense policies and funding and the accompanying conference report, at the same time advancing several priorities of U.S. Reps. Andy Barr (R-KY), Kay Granger (R-TX), and Steve Stivers (R-OH).

The House on Wednesday voted 377-48 to pass the conference report for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020, S. 1790. Reps. Granger, Barr and Stivers praised the forthcoming benefits that will be realized under the final legislation now under consideration in the U.S. Senate.

“House passage of the NDAA is vital to our national security. I am proud to vote for a bill that is so important to this country and to thousands of jobs in the metroplex,” said Rep. Granger, ranking member of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, referring to a Texas region that she said “is home to many defense companies of all sizes, that provide many of the planes, helicopters, weapons and technology critically needed to secure our country.”

Rep. Granger also applauded the protection of jobs provided in the bill for service members at the Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base in Texas, and noted the importance to her district under the NDAA for the authorization of 90 F-35s, to include 12 additional F-35A aircraft for the U.S. Air Force, and an additional $75.6 million for the U.S. Army’s Future Vertical Lift Capability Set 3 Program.

In Kentucky, Rep. Barr said the Sixth District he represents will benefit from the NDAA authorizations provided for citizen-soldiers serving the state and the nation in the Army and Air National Guard at the Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort, Ky.

“The bill also allows the United States to meet its international obligations to destroy chemical weapons by authorizing continued chemical agent and munitions destruction activity that occurs at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Madison County,” said Rep. Barr. “Supporting the partnership between the National Guard and local authorities, the NDAA [also] authorizes funding for drug interdiction and counter-drug activities in eastern Kentucky.”

Rep. Barr, who served as a conferee on the FY2020 NDAA conference committee, said he was also proud to secure two bills he had previously introduced in Congress into the final version of the legislation: the Otto Warmbier North Korea Nuclear Sanctions Act of 2019, H.R. 4084, and the Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act of 2019, H.R. 4818.

Additionally, two key priorities of Rep. Stivers were included in the final legislation, both directly influenced by his experience in the Ohio Army National Guard, according to his office.

For example, the Afghan Allies Protection Act, H.R. 2796, would make 4,000 more Special Immigrant Visas available to foreign allies being persecuted for serving U.S. military forces as interpreters or other support staff, among several provisions. Rep. Stivers in May signed on as an original cosponsor of H.R. 2796 with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenaur (D-OR).

“When I served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, I worked with interpreters every day. They always had our backs and were essential to the success of our missions,” Rep. Stivers said. “We cannot turn our backs on them. Our allies must know that they can trust the United States to keep its promises, and I am glad that my colleagues recognize that in passing this bill.”

The final version of the NDAA also includes an amendment offered by Rep. Stivers to improve the health of female military service members by directing the U.S. Secretary of Defense to submit an annual report on the findings of a study related to women’s health.

“I’m lucky to have an incredibly dedicated Wounded Warrior on my staff, and her status is directly related to circumstances she faced in the service while pregnant,” said Rep. Stivers. “This amendment ensures we have the information necessary to create a battle plan to support our female service members.”