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U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services

09/23/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/23/2021 19:54

Democratic-Led House Passes Annual Defense Bill for the 61st Consecutive Year

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4350, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022, by a vote of 316-113.

"For 61 consecutive years, the House has proven that our collective commitment to U.S. national security can help us rise above partisanship. Instead of focusing on what divides us, each year we choose to pass a defense bill that fulfills Congress' constitutional obligation to 'provide for the common defense' - and we do so by focusing on what we have in common as Americans.

"I am once again incredibly proud of the work of the House Armed Services Committee, despite the ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The NDAA represents the legislative process at its best. This year, like every year, we worked for months to identify policies where we agree, and where we don't, and engaged in thorough, thoughtful debate on all of them. In an era where our politics is so dominated by divisiveness, it has never mattered more to show the American people that democracy still works.

"The FY22 NDAA is an excellent piece of legislation that makes transformational policy changes with direct benefits for our service members and their families. The bill makes dramatic reforms to the Uniform Code of Military Justice to address the scourge of sexual assault in our military - an issue that Congress has completely failed our service members on until now. The bill also builds on previous attempts to close the pay gap by funding a 2.7 percent pay increase for our service men and women in uniform and establishing a $15 minimum wage for covered service and construction contracts - a huge step in Democrats' continued fight for a fair federal minimum wage that reflects the true value of labor and the dignity of work.

"Thanks to the hard work of Democrats, the bill includes provisions that continue to build a more diverse, inclusive fighting force and equips the Department of Defense with the tools necessary to combat extremism in the ranks. The FY22 NDAA also focuses on deepening and broadening our partnerships and alliances around the world with a particular eye towards the Indo-Pacific region vis-à-vis the Pacific Deterrence Initiative.

"As the legislative process continues and we head to the conference with our colleagues in the Senate, I am confident that our work will reflect the bipartisan tradition that has distinguished the Armed Services Committees for decades."

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