Houlahan Secures Major Priorities in Annual Defense Bill

HoulahanImage via Rep. Chrissy Houlahan

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) announced that yesterday dozens of her legislative provisions made it into the final version of the FY23 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The only Pennsylvanian member of the House Armed Services Committee, Houlahan has been working for months to advance her efforts to grow the nation’s cyber defense workforce, strengthen pharmaceutical supply chains, support Ukrainian fighter pilots, improve literacy among children of servicemembers, and more.

The FY23 NDAA passed the House with broad bipartisan support by a vote of 350-80, and it now heads to the Senate where it’s expected to pass in the coming days before being signed into law.

“There are very few pieces of legislation that are passed on an annual basis in Congress, let alone with broad bipartisan support,” said Houlahan. “But the NDAA does both, defying the narrative that Congress is too fractured to function—I’m incredibly proud to be heavily involved in this bipartisan process as a member of the House Armed Services Committee.”

Houlahan championed 31 bills/provisions in the NDAA, including the following highlights that will:

  • Require the DoD to provide risk management policies to ensure the supply chain stability of life-saving medications for our servicemembers. (Strengthening Supply Chains for Servicemembers and Security Act)
  • Establish a Cyber and Digital Service Academy within the DoD to provide scholarships for those pursuing degrees in cyber or digital technology and are willing to serve as a civilian within the DoD after graduation.
  • Authorize the use of $800 million to train Ukrainian pilots on various aircraft systems to support their fight against the Russian invasion. (Ukrainian Fighter Pilot Act)
  • Require the DoD to study the amount of critical minerals and materials necessary to maintain a supply of semiconductors for our warfighters if we were in a prolonged armed conflict. (Defense Semiconductor Stockpile Act)
  • Create a pilot program to reimburse our servicemembers with certain costs to meet their childcare needs when they are required to move to a new duty station.
  • Improve childhood literacy through military child development centers and base libraries by authorizing a program to provide age-appropriate books to the children of servicemembers. (CLIMB Act)
  • Study vulnerabilities in the supply chains of critical materials and provide an assessment of domestic processing and manufacturing capabilities to decrease reliance on countries like China for critical materials.
  • Improve Congress’ understanding of paid leave benefits by requiring the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to collect and share data on federal employee usage and understanding of paid parental leave.

Including this year’s defense bill, Houlahan has secured 128 provisions through the NDAA since coming to Congress in 2019.

“During a time of emerging global threats, this annual defense bill will improve our national security. But our work is never finished,” added Houlahan. “I championed a bill that had the full backing of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that was disappointingly not included in this year’s NDAA. My bill, the Investing in American Defense Technologies Act of 2022, would have expanded vital public-private partnerships to help our small businesses better support our nation’s defense needs—a huge priority for our community. While the Department of Defense took a step in the right direction by recently creating the Office of Strategic Capital (OSC), I am resolved to standing strong with our small businesses by getting my bill across the finish line. I look forward to continuing my work on the committee to build upon this year’s successes in next year’s NDAA.”

Read the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s letter supporting the Investing in American Defense Technologies Act of 2022 here.

Additional provisions in the expansive bill will:

  • Provide a historic 4.6% pay raise for servicemembers.
  • Extend recruitment incentives to ensure our Armed Forces meet their recruiting and retention goals.
  • Improve on-base housing and extend the authority to adjust housing allowance in high-cost areas.
  • Address implementing reforms related to suicide prevention among military personnel and veterans.

The bill also includes a repeal of the 2021 Pentagon vaccine directive, meaning servicemembers cannot be separated solely for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine moving forward. The policy is not retroactive.

An executive summary of the FY23 NDAA can be found here.

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