(Washington, DC) – Today, Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) hailed the final passage of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (NDAA). The measure passed the Senate by a vote of 98-0.
The National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 authorizes the nation’s defense expenditures for the upcoming year, including expenditures that support Connecticut’s defense manufacturing industry. For example, this measure authorizes the procurement of an additional Virginia-class submarine, 29 JSF aircraft engines, and 96 helicopters, which will be made in Connecticut.
Blumenthal said, “I am proud that this comprehensive measure means more support for men and women in uniform who serve and sacrifice for our nation, and more jobs and economic growth for our state as it supports weapons and defense products made in Connecticut by Connecticut workers. I will continue to fight for Connecticut defense products so vital to our national security and defense. We all can be proud that Connecticut makes weapons systems critical to intelligence, counterterrorism, undersea warfare, and other defense priorities.”
Blumenthal added, “I am particularly proud of the protections I helped to lead in this measure such as the provisions that ease the process by which veterans are able to dispose of unused prescription drugs, expand insurance coverage for military families dealing with autism, and end human trafficking in government contracting overseas. These protections will ensure that our nation properly supports and serves our men and women in uniform and their families, as well as defense personnel working abroad.”
The measure supports the following priority programs that Blumenthal fought to support:
- The bill restores $777.7 million in advance procurement funding to allow the Navy to procure two Virginia-class submarines in FY14, reversing the Defense Department’s decision to reduce its submarine procurement for that year.
- The bill will authorize $6.9 billion in total funding for the continued development of the Joint Strike Fighter program, to include the acquisition of 29 JSF aircraft, powered by Pratt & Whitney engines. Specifically, the bill includes funding for 19 F-35As for the Air Force, six F-35Bs for the Marine Corps, and four Navy F-35Cs.
- The bill will authorize over $2.3 billion in funding to procure Sikorsky helicopters, to include 59 Black Hawks, 19 Seahawks and 18 Knighthawks.
- The bill explicitly rejects the Administration’s request for additional rounds of military Base Realignment and Closures (BRAC) in FY13 and FY15. Since 2007, the Connecticut delegation has secured more than $80 million in new military construction at SUBASE New London, shoring up its infrastructure and adding value to secure its future.
- The bill includes $32 million for the Connecticut Army National Guard Camp Hartell facility.
The measure also supports other key Connecticut posts and programs:
Support For Key Connecticut Installations And Programs
- The bill will authorize $1.7 billion in development funds for the replacement of KC-46A tanker, an aircraft that will be powered by Pratt & Whitney engines and will recapitalize America’s fleet of aerial refueling tankers.
- In addition to providing the $59.3 million that the Air Force requested, the bill authorizes an additional $12 million to restart the production line for the Pratt & Whitney JT-8D engines that will eventually power Joint STARS for decades into the future.
- The bill includes strong provisions that prevent the Air Force from carrying out sweeping cuts to the Air National Guard and freezes Air National Guard force structure in place until an independent commission can assess the validity of the Air Force’s proposed cost savings.
Support To Military Personnel And Their Families
- The bill authorizes a 1.7 percent across-the-board pay raise for all members of the uniformed services, consistent with the President’s request.
- The bill reauthorizes over 30 types of bonuses and special pay aimed at encouraging enlistment, reenlistment, and continued service by active-duty and reserve component military personnel.
- The bill rejects Defense Department proposals to establish enrollment fees for TRICARE, and to increase TRICARE deductibles.
- The bill includes an amendment requiring the military services to ensure that wounded warriors receive the care they need in transition units.
- The bill includes a Blumenthal amendment requiring DOD to assign responsibility for the investigation of violations of crime victims’ rights in military judicial proceedings and requiring DOD to report to Congress on their failure to provide crime victims all their statutory rights.
- The bill includes a Blumenthal amendment strengthening protections on the extension of certain consumer credit for members of the armed forces, including a private right of action for violations of the Military Lending Act. The bill also includes a Blumenthal amendment that enables military personnel to retake DOD transition assistance programs at military installations and online after they separate from military service, a provision of S. 1060, the Honoring All Veterans Act.
Here is a list of amendments that Blumenthal sponsored or cosponsored that were included in the final measure.