Comstock, Kinzinger, Rooney lead efforts to include key measures in NDAA

Key provisions led by U.S. Reps. Barbara Comstock (R-VA), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Thomas Rooney (R-FL) were included in a House-approved conference report to the fiscal year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Overall, the NDAA would increase base funding $9 billion beyond the administration’s request, provide a 2.1 percent increase in troop pay, reform the acquisition process to foster efficiency and embrace technology, and help combat military sexual abuse.

“A strong national defense is essential to preserving the freedoms that are the bedrock of our nation and this legislation actually goes above the administration’s request by $9 billion to provide critical funding to support those in our military as they fight for us and our freedoms,” Comstock said.

Comstock worked on an amendment to the bill that would protect children by making opioid prescription drug medication bottles safer.

“This is a valuable tool in our ongoing battle against the opioid epidemic that is sweeping our nation and the numerous overdoses that have resulted from this scourge,” Comstock said.

The language in the bill directs the Department of Defense to analyze the feasibility of new prescription bottle lock mechanisms for opioid medications.

Addiction often starts early in life with an adolescent taking a pill from medicine that was not prescribed for them, and this is designed to limit illicit access to prescribed medications,” she said.

The NDAA also includes language from legislation led by Kinzinger, the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act, to help allies counter propaganda from Russia, China and other countries.

“This legislation will streamline our counter-propaganda efforts by creating a new Global Engagement Center and will reaffirm our commitment to empowering our allies against foreign manipulation,” Kinzinger said.

Because supporting U.S. troops is paramount to national security, Kinzinger said, Congress must ensure that promises made to those who serve and assist the military overseas are kept.

One section in the NDAA extends the Special Immigrant Visa program for four years and permits 1,500 additional visas, Kinzinger said. “These Afghan men and women who would be eligible for these visas risked their lives, and the safety of their families, to serve and help the United States. We cannot leave them behind, and we cannot go back on our word,” he added.

Meanwhile, Rooney successfully included a provision in the NDAA that would reverse reductions in TRICARE reimbursement rates for providers of Applied Behavior Analysis to military families living with autism spectrum disorder.

“Having a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder shouldn’t make it harder for you to serve in the military,” Rooney said. “This amendment is a commonsense adjustment to an ill-informed policy that never should have been changed in the first place. I am pleased that the final compromise bill included my provision to ensure that our service members and veterans are able to access basic health care services for their children.”