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Rep. Luria: US House passes 2020 National Defense Authorization Act

The Act would give service members a raise, fund improvements to family housing, and clean up chemicals in drinking water on or near bases.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House passed the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which includes pay raises, addresses family housing concerns, and many more improvements for the military.

The Democratic-controlled House with the passage of the NDAA voted to limit President Donald Trump's authority to make war against Iran. That restriction is part of a leftward-leaning defense policy bill that also cuts back Trump's record Pentagon budget request.

The party-line vote on the annual defense measure came after more than two dozen Republicans joined with Democrats on a 251-170 tally to require Trump to get authorization from Congress to conduct military strikes against Iran.

The bill would also require an investigation of Hezbollah’s influence on the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF).

“This defense authorization bill keeps Americans safe, gives our troops the resources they need to succeed, helps military families, and best positions Hampton Roads to continue our critical role in securing America,” Congresswoman Luria said. “I hope the House, Senate, and President can quickly come together to provide the best bill for defending our nation.”

The House NDAA includes:

  • 3.1% pay raise for servicemembers
  • Tenant bill of rights to protect families in military housing
  • $11.5 billion for military construction and family housing
  • $121 million to clean up chemicals in drinking water on or near bases
  • $17 million for advance planning efforts in support of refueling USS HARRY S TRUMAN
  • $48.9 million for construction improvements at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in support of the Secretary of the Navy’s Public Shipyard revitalization plan
  • $10 million in DoD supplemental Impact Aid to reimburse local school districts for costs incurred in providing public education to military children with severe disabilities
  • Requirement for the DoD to develop expanded standards for the Defense Access Roads Program and to direct DoD to use its authority to initiate construction, repair, and mitigation projects related to sea-level rise and recurrent flooding
  • Accelerates DoD’s implementation of the Defense Community Infrastructure Pilot Program (DCIP) to improve the long-term sustainment and resiliency of defense installations

"As the son of an Army veteran, I understand first-hand the weight of the sacrifices service members make in order to protect and serve our country,” said Congressman A. Donald McEachin. “This defense bill will offer crucial support and protections for our service members and their families. It is also noteworthy that this legislation responds to the climate crisis as a critical threat to national security and reverses the Trump administration’s bigoted ban on transgender service members. This is a strong and inclusive defense bill that will help keep us all safer.”

The House NDAA also would:

  • Permit the surviving spouses of deceased veterans who are eligible for Survivors Benefit Plan (SBP) annuities and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) to receive the full amount of both of those benefits that have been paid for and earned by the veteran
  • Eliminate the need for Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance that is available to surviving spouses who have SBP annuities reduced by the amount of their DIC
  • Eliminate the refund of SBP premiums that are paid to surviving spouses whose SBP payments are reduced
  • Eliminate the optional SBP annuities paid to dependent children of service members who died on active duty and restore the SBP annuities to the surviving spouses of those service members

The Associated Press contributed to this report.