Last night, U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO) voted in favor of H.R. 4350, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 (NDAA). The bipartisan bill provides a pay raise and additional support to our troops and their families, strengthens our national security and foreign policy apparatus, and makes key investments in innovation and emerging technologies to ensure the U.S. remains a leader around the globe. Included in this year's NDAA are three amendments sponsored by Rep. Cleaver to enhance security operations to reduce the spread of COVID-19 among TSA workers and airline passengers; to study the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network's (FinCEN) ability to enforce the Bank Secrecy Act; and to bolster relations with western Europe and honor the life and legacy of Representative Alcee Hastings by creating the Alcee L. Hastings Leadership Institute for Inclusive Transatlantic Engagement.
"I've never seen an NDAA that was perfect--and that includes the one I voted for last night," said Congressman Cleaver. "However, I also understand that democracy demands compromise, and the proposal passed by the House of Representatives today is the result of a fair negotiation that provides a well-earned pay raise and additional support to our troops, critical funding for innovation and R&D, and other investments that strengthen America's relationships with allies around the world. With this bipartisan legislation, the House of Representatives is sending the message that our men and women in uniform and our national security are more important than petty politics--and that's the way it ought to be"
Some key provisions supported by Rep. Cleaver in the NDAA include:
Improving the quality of life for our men and women in uniform by authorizing a 2.7 percent pay raise, increasing the allowable parental leave for primary and secondary caregivers in military families, expanding the in-home childcare pilot program, and making critical improvements to military health care, including easier access to mental health services;
Historic investments in innovation and emerging technologies to strengthen our national security, including a 36 percent increase in defense-wide basic and applied research and development, as well as significant increases in academic partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities;
Strengthening our partnerships and alliances to ensure the U.S. remains a global leader and defender of democratic values in the face of a troubling rise in authoritarian states around the world;
Establishing a $15 minimum wage for Department of Defense service and construction contracts;
Critical procedural changes to combat sexual assault in the military, including removing the Commander from decisions related to the prosecution of sexual assault crimes and instead creating an Office of Special victim Prosecutor to prosecute these crimes; and
Providing $500 million in relocation support for Afghan SIV holders.
Rep. Cleaver introduced three amendments to the NDAA, all of which were adopted into the legislation with bipartisan support. The amendments include:
The Security Screening During COVID-19 Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Rep. Cleaver in March that would direct the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to issue and begin implementing a plan to enhance security operations during the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce the spread of the virus among TSA employees and airline passengers.
The creation of the Alcee L. Hastings Leadership Institute for Inclusive Transatlantic Engagement (LIITE) to honor the life and legacy of Representative Alcee Hastings, who tragically passed away earlier this year, and strengthen relations with our western European allies. LIITE builds upon Rep. Hastings' efforts over the past decade to bolster waning relations with western Europe by supporting leadership and knowledge exchanges that will help in countering extremism, hate crimes, and other security challenges impacting racial, ethnic, religious, and other communities on both sides of the Atlantic.
Directing the Treasury Department to study the efficacy of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network's (FinCEN) delegation authority in an effort to bolster enforcement of the Bank Secrecy Act, which prevents criminals from using financial institutions to hide or launder money for nefarious purposes. The amendment is a complement to the bipartisan COUNTER Act, introduced by Congressman Cleaver and signed into law last year, which provides sweeping reforms to improve the ability of the United States to protect national security and safeguard our financial systems from bad actors.
Congressman Cleaver also cosponsored several amendments that were adopted into the NDAA, including:
Two provisions from the Counter-Kleptocracy Act, which was co-introduced by Rep. Cleaver earlier this month and would implement an array of updates to our national security and foreign policy apparatus to help confront and combat the rise in autocracy around the world by making it more difficult for corrupt kleptocrats to participate in the global financial system;
Hiring, Retaining, and Increasing African American and other nontraditional apprentice populations by requiring the Secretary of Defense to ensure that all contractors and subcontractors for military construction projects have a plan in place to do just that; and
Rescinding the Medal of Honor From 20 Individuals Who Perpetrated the Wounded Knee Massacre, which killed hundreds of unarmed Lakota women, children, and men on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
"I believe our greatest responsibility as members of Congress is to protect and defend the American public from threats domestically and abroad," said Congressman Cleaver. "From increasing security measures to protect our invaluable TSA workers from COVID-19 to combating kleptocracy and corruption in the global financial system, I am extraordinarily proud that I was able to get multiple amendments that will protect American citizens adopted into this year's NDAA. As the NDAA makes its way to the President's desk, I will continue to work with my colleagues in a bipartisan way to ensure the safety and well-being of the Fifth Congressional District of Missouri and the American people."