Thornberry, Womack, Turner praise House passage of national defense measure

U.S. Reps. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), Steve Womack (R-AR), and Mike Turner (R-OH) applauded U.S. House passage this week of the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021.

The U.S. House of Representatives on July 21 voted 295-125 to pass H.R. 6395, which would authorize FY 2021 appropriations and establish policies for U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) programs and activities, including military personnel strengths.

“For 60 years, the House has voted to put America’s national security and our military first. This is not a Republican or a Democrat bill, it is an American bill,” Rep. Thornberry said. “This legislation invests in our military families and military readiness, ensuring that our service members will be protected at home and abroad.”

The congressman also pointed out that the bill would provide necessary resources and equipment for the troops stationed at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita County, Texas, and would fund military production at companies like Bell and Pantex. 

“Our first obligation should always be to the brave men and women in uniform and their families, and it is a privilege to serve those who sacrifice so much for our nation,” said Rep. Thornberry.

H.R. 6395 fulfills the president’s budget request of $740.5 billion for national defense; provide a 3 percent pay raise; allocate resources, such as diagnostic equipment, testing capabilities and personal protective equipment, to protect the U.S. Armed Forces during the COVID-19 pandemic; and would fund nuclear modernization programs, among numerous provisions, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Thornberry’s office.

H.R. 6395 also includes several provisions supported by Rep. Womack, including those to permit an energy project in his home state at Ebbing Air National Guard Base in Fort Smith, Ark., and sanctions to stop the construction of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline. 

“With new and emerging threats across the globe, we can’t retreat from our most fundamental responsibility: providing for the common defense,” Rep. Womack said. “This NDAA continues to enhance military readiness by equipping our brave men and women in uniform with the resources necessary to protect our homeland, providing troops with a well-deserved pay raise, funding Arkansas’s military installations, and making critical investments to confront our adversaries, specifically China and Russia.”

However, Rep. Womack said that his overall support of the bill “does not extend to some of the non-defense provisions that were unfortunately tacked on.” But he said he’s hopeful that lawmakers can remove “these extraneous measures during conference to further strengthen the final legislation and core responsibilities it upholds.”

Rep. Turner said that he was proud House members were able to come together to create a strong bipartisan bill that supports U.S. troops and provides necessary funding to keep the country safe. 

“There are major wins I was able to include in this bill, particularly $58.5 million in funding for military construction projects at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base; modernizing the nuclear triad; limiting Ligado’s ability to cause harm to DOD’s GPS systems; addressing PFAS; advancing diversity and equality within our service members’ ranks; improving military housing; and preventing sexual assault in the military, protecting victims of sexual assault, and prosecuting sexual offenders,” said Rep. Turner. “I will continue to fight for these issues through the conference process.”

Following passage of the U.S. Senate version, the bill now heads to a conference committee, where negotiators from the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate will convene to reconcile differences between the two NDAA versions advanced by both chambers.