Houlahan Leads Pennsylvania Delegation in National Defense Authorization Act

A-10 aircraftImage by Malachi Witt
Priorities include reducing reliance on China for critical rare earth minerals, improving childhood literacy for military families, and reimbursing certain child care costs for servicemembers due to change of station

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following a lengthy debate and passage this week of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) out of the House Armed Services Committee, Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) announced that over a dozen of her priorities were included in the bipartisan package, which passed 57-1. The NDAA sets defense guidelines and provides oversight of the implementation of defense policy. In an important demonstration to our adversaries and our allies around the world, the annual, bipartisan NDAA has become law for 61 years straight. The bill now heads to the whole House for further consideration before likely becoming law later this year.

“The military landscape and our nation’s emerging threats are changing by the day, which is why it is absolutely critical that Congress continues to come together in a bipartisan manner to strengthen our national security and support our troops — and I’m heartened to say we have done just that,” said Houlahan. “As a veteran and the only member of the Pennsylvania delegation on this critical committee, I’m proud to bring the priorities of our Commonwealth—home to the third-largest National Guard in the country—to the forefront in Washington.”

Houlahan added: “Inspired by the many servicemembers and veterans I have met throughout my service in Congress, I proudly championed policies that put our national security first. On the global front, I’m incredibly worried about the rise in influence of China, which is why I again led efforts to reduce our reliance on foreign suppliers of critical minerals. On the home front, my efforts will help our military families by improving childhood literacy and making childcare options more affordable. The annual success of the NDAA is a testament to the importance of working collaboratively and bipartisanally, and I look forward to working with Chairman Smith and all of my colleagues to continue to advance not only Pennsylvania’s priorities but also America’s priorities that strengthen our national security for generations to come.”

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Several of Houlahan’s efforts were unanimously adopted into the base text of the bill including:

  • Permanent authorization of a program to support early literacy among young children of servicemembers
  • Reimbursement of certain child care costs to help our service members meet their child care needs when they are required to move to a new duty station
  • Improved access to mental health counseling services for military families
  • Report on the security of our heparin supply chain to lessen our reliance on animal-based blood products from countries like China
  • Requiring the Department to evaluate the effectiveness of programs intended to help military spouses find employment after moving to a new location with their service member
  • Preventing a reduction of military medical personnel until the Department of Defense thoroughly reviews projected medical requirements based on the needs of our theater commanders and informed by our National Defense Strategy
  • Report on how U.S. private shipyards could support our readiness efforts
  • Feasibility Study on establishing biomanufacturing capabilities to strengthen our supply chains during times of armed conflict
  • Understanding how the Department of Defense is impacted by hidden costs within data storage and data transfer agreements

In addition, Houlahan successfully advanced 10 amendments before the committee, all receiving unanimous, bipartisan support. Her provisions will:

  • Direct the Department of Defense to research and identify alternatives to 15 rare earth minerals critical to our national security so that we aren’t dependent on countries like Russia and China
  • Establish a pilot program to acquire and maintain a 180-day supply of at least 30 commonly used generic drugs at risk of shortage due to supply chain disruption
  • Reauthorize the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program that funds small businesses providing innovate technologies to the Department of Defense to help meet our national security challenges
  • Amend Houlahan’s previous childhood literacy provision clarifying that children only need to have one caregiver in service to benefit from the program
  • Require clarification on the challenges facing our supply of niobium, a critical mineral used in hypersonic missiles for which we currently rely heavily on China
  • Report to the House Committee on Armed Services on the procurement of antibiotics effective against drug-resistant bacteria
  • Provide information on the demographics and expertise of Professional Military Education faculty and leadership to ensure they reflect the diversity of our country
  • Include the text of Houlahan’s bipartisan Security Pharmaceutical Supply Chains for Servicemembers Act, which seeks to ensure our servicemembers always have access to the medications they need
  • Present Congress a report to better understand the family-building challenges faced by members of our active-duty military members
  • Collect data to better understand how federal employees, including those at the Department of Defense, are using the benefits of the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act
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“This year’s defense bill builds on the Committee’s six-decade-long tradition of investing in the people, programs, and technologies that strengthen our common defense,” said House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA). “At a time when democracies around the world face enormous challenges and unprecedented threats, we have sent a powerful, bipartisan message to our allies and partners, global competitors, and the American people: democracy still works – and it can deliver real results. There is much to be proud of in this bill, and I am grateful to my colleagues like Rep. Chrissy Houlahan for their expertise, advocacy, and support as we have crafted this year’s NDAA.”

Houlahan applauds many additional priorities championed in the legislation including:

  • A historic 4.6% pay raise for servicemembers
  • Expansion of the talent pipeline for military and civilian personnel
  • Partnership with research institutions to accelerate the development of cutting-edge technologies that will support those in uniform
  • Oversight to help mitigate and prevent civilian harm during military operations
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An effective legislator on the committee, Houlahan secured 27 of her provisions in last year’s NDAA that was ultimately signed into law.

Find additional information on the committee’s NDAA work here.

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