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Blumenthal Statement on Senate Armed Services Committee Passage of NDAA

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement on the Committee’s approval of its draft of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2016:

“I am pleased to have helped craft the comprehensive NDAA, which provides our military service members with the necessary resources to ensure our nation is kept safe. Specifically, I worked to ensure that the NDAA provides $800 million in additional funding for Virginia Class Submarines, endorses equipping all future attack submarines with an enhanced payload capability, and includes an additional $1 billion for six additional Joint Strike Fighter aircraft for the Marine Corps and $17 million in new military construction for the Connecticut National Guard. The legislation also takes necessary measures to help our troops, including a 1.3% pay raise, an additional $85 million directed towards improved financial literacy, and a new requirement I included so that all service members receive a record of service card upon separation to prevent identity theft and financial fraud targeting veterans.

While I support the legislation’s goals, I remain deeply concerned that this authorization does not remove the broader, sequestration-imposed barriers to addressing urgent national priorities and resolve the Republican-imposed budget cuts, but rather turns a blind eye to those restrictions for defense-only. The tragic Amtrak derailment this week made starkly clear the safety of our nation cannot be addressed through national security means alone. Congress must act to fully fund the vital federal programs that will keep America working and invest in our infrastructure. I will continue to fight for repealing sequestration, as well as to work as this measure comes to the Senate floor to ensure that our nation’s key priorities are addressed.