NDAA Signed into Law
Today, the President signed into law the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019, a massive bill that lays out the country’s national defense policy and spending priorities for the upcoming year. First in the House Armed Services Committee and then in the conference committee, I worked with my colleagues from both parties and both chambers to write a bill that does right by our service members. Like any bipartisan effort, there are provisions in the final bill that I don’t like, and other provisions we fought to include but did not make it.
I voted yes on the bill that became law today because it provides funding for the training and equipment our service members need as well as Fort Bliss in El Paso and installations around Texas and the country. It also includes the largest pay raise for our troops in years and several specific provisions I fought to add.
Working with my colleagues on the Armed Services and Veterans Affairs committees, I helped include a provision in the final bill to update and reform the Transition Assistance Program (TAP). Now, the TAP will include specialized counseling tailored to each service member’s unique needs. This reform will make service members’ transition to civilian life a more rewarding and comprehensive process.
I also fought to improve the crime reporting process from the Department of Defense (DOD) to the FBI. This change will help keep guns away from individuals like the Sutherland Springs shooter, who should have never been able to obtain a firearm due to previous offenses.
I am also proud of several DOD transparency provisions I helped add to the NDAA. They include requiring DOD to formulate a plan to make all public reports searchable and available on a single website, as well as increased reporting on the role the U.S. is playing in the ongoing war in Yemen.
I am grateful these and several more of my provisions were included in the final bill which passed the House by a vote of 359–54 and the Senate by a vote of 87–10 and was signed into law today. This legislation is the result of a true bipartisan compromise, and I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to ensure our service members have the resources they need and deserve.