The U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 7900, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the fiscal year 2023. This legislation provides a raise for Alabama service members, bolsters America’s national security, funds defense research and promotes U.S. leadership on the global stage.
The act passed, 329-101, and would increase the national security budget for the fiscal year 2023 to $850.3 billion — tens of billions of dollars more than President Biden requested.
House lawmakers cited high inflation, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and threats posed by China to justify adding $37 billion to the $813 billion budget proposed by the President, surpassing last year's budget of $778 billion.
Specifically, this year’s NDAA provides a 4.6% pay increase for uniformed service members while civilian employees of the Defense Department will receive a 2.4% increase. Additionally, service members earning less than $45,000 per year will receive an inflation bonus on top of their raise. The bill also sets a $15 per hour minimum wage for federal contract workers.
Also included is $750 million in funding for base commissaries to help reduce costs of groceries and other essentials for military families, and $500 million for housing allowances to offset increases in rents.
The NDAA provides support for the people of Ukraine, including $1 billion for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) and additional efforts to reduce U.S. dependence on Russian energy. It invests in minority-serving institutions (MSIs), next-generation defense technology, civilian harm mitigation measures, and supply chain security.
The Senate is expected to pass its own $858.5 billion version of the NDAA in the coming weeks. Members of both the House and Senate will then work together to reconcile both chambers’ bills before sending compromise legislation to the president’s desk for his signature.
Congressman Mike Rogers (R-AL03) is the Lead Republican on the House Armed Services Committee. Rogers released a statement applauding the House passage of H.R. 7900.
“I am glad to see the FY23 NDAA pass the House with overwhelming bipartisan support,” Rogers said. “However, our work is not done – we will continue to improve upon this bill in conference to ensure that this legislation gives our warfighters what they need.
“Every year, Congress is tasked with ensuring that our service members have the authorities and resources they need to defend our nation and defeat our adversaries. The FY23 NDAA accomplishes this task by supporting our service members and their families and by making needed investments to ensure our warfighters are equipped to succeed and win the on battlefields of the future.”
Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL07) also voted in favor of the defense authorization bill.
“I take seriously my responsibility to ensure that our brave service members have the resources they need to keep our nation safe,” said Sewell. “That’s why I was proud to cast my vote for the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act. I’m particularly proud that this year's NDAA delivers hard-earned pay raises to Alabama servicemembers and includes initiatives to support cutting-edge research at HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities).”
Sewell secured $15 million for improvements to Maxwell Air Force Base and $6.8 million to construct a training facility for F-35 fighter planes at Dannelly Field in Montgomery.
“I was thrilled to secure $15 million for improvements to Maxwell Air Force Base and $6.8 million to construct a training facility for F-35 fighter planes at [Dannelly Field],” continued Sewell. “This funding will continue to stimulate economic development in the region and help strengthen Alabama’s essential role in providing for our national defense.”
Congressman Jerry Carl (R-AL01) also supported the legislation.
“I’m thrilled the House has passed the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act,” Rep. Carl said. “This bipartisan bill pushes back on President Biden’s cuts to our defense spending, gives our troops a much-needed pay raise, and includes critically important Navy ships to be built by Austal USA in Mobile. This is great news!”
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email brandon.moseley@1819News.com.
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