Action authorizes discretionary budget boost and funding for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The U.S. House of Representatives today approved the conference report for H.R. 1585, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2008 by an overwhelming vote of 370-49. H.R. 1585 authorizes $506.9 billion in discretionary budget authority for the Department of Defense (DoD) and the national security programs of the Department of Energy. Additionally, the legislation authorizes $189.4 billion in supplemental funding to support current operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Global War on Terrorism.
In response to today’s passage of the H.R.1585, Congressman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Santa Clarita), member of the House Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement:
“I’m pleased that Congress was able to reach agreement on the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008. This was a huge undertaking that didn’t come without forcing House Democrats to compromise on such issues as removing the constitutionally questionable Hate Crimes bill language and keeping binding Iraq troop withdrawal language out of the bill. While this isn’t a perfect bill, it’s a good compromise on some critical funding measures.”
“Our men and women in uniform deserve our support and gratitude for their unwavering dedication and sacrifice. Today’s passage of the NDAA conference report takes many strides forward for our troops, including improved health care and pay increases. During this holiday season in particular, it’s important that those serving in the armed services can see that we are as dedicated to them as they are to us.”
Highlights of the bill include:
- An additional $189.4 billion in supplemental funding to support the Global War on Terrorism’s operational costs, personnel expenses and procurement of new equipment for Fiscal Year 2008.
- Additional funding for force protection needs in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, including $17.6 billion for state-of-the-art Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles.
- Additional increases of 13,000 Army and 9,000 Marine Corps active duty personnel to sustain our required missions.
- A 3.5% pay raise for all members of the armed forces in 2008 and guaranteed pay raises in 2009, 2010 and 2011 to reduce the military-civilian pay disparity.
- $2.3 billion for an additional 8 C-17’s to support intra-theater airlift requirements and meet the airlift needs for the increased end strength in the Army and Marine Corps.
- An additional $980 million for National Guard equipment.
- Authorizes the much needed Wounded Warriors legislation that advances the care, management and transition of recovering service members, enhances health care and benefits for families, and begins the process of fundamental reform of the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs disability evaluation systems.
- Extends the prohibition the committee enacted last year on increases to TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Standard.
- Extends the prohibition the committee enacted last year on retail pharmacy cost share increases.
- Provides a stipend to partially compensate people for the SBP-DIC offset and begins providing combat-related special compensation to some medically retired military personnel with between 15 and 20 years of service.
- Authorizes capital expenditure investments for U.S. shipyards to be repaid through contract savings in order to improve shipyard efficiency, cost-effectiveness and international competitiveness and requires U.S. shipyards to certify they have attempted to recruit U.S. workers prior to hiring foreign nationals for the construction of U.S. Navy vessels.
- Prohibits the Department of Defense and defense contractors from procuring goods or services from a source owned or controlled by an entity sanctioned by the U.S. Department of State for violating the Iran and Syria Nonproliferation Act (Public Law 106-178).