Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement after the Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 (NDAA) by a vote of 83-11. Senator Murray voted in favor of the bill.
"This year's NDAA bill takes important steps toward ensuring our country lives up to its promise to support our servicemembers and their families. That's why I'm glad the House and Senate could once again work together on important provisions that make life better for those who make tremendous sacrifices to protect our freedoms. From increasing military pay to expanding the Basic Needs Allowance, this legislation makes real progress to ensure Washington state military families are taken care of."
"While this legislation is critical, I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who supported a significant increase in defense spending will also be willing to make similar levels of investment in other important priorities for our nation--from child care to mental health to pandemic preparedness. As ever, I'll be fighting to make sure our defense spending is free of waste, fraud, abuse and areas of obvious excess, so we can ensure our servicemembers and military families are getting the support they need."
Among its many provisions, the NDAA bill Senator Murray helped pass will:
Support a 4.6% pay raise for military servicemembers--which represents the largest increase in 20 years,
Expand the eligibility and impact of the Basic Needs Allowance from 130% of the Federal poverty line to 150% of the Federal poverty line as a baseline, and authorizes the Secretary of Defense to increase this benefit to 200% of the poverty line when appropriate,
Include provisions from the Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act to address sexual assault in the military by requiring independently trained investigators outside the immediate chain of command to investigate sexual harassment, and placing it under the jurisdiction of the Special Trial counsel,
Authorize a permanent program to improve opioid management in the military health system,
Create a pilot program on sustainable aviation fuel requiring DoD to collaborate with civilian airfields on the use of sustainable aviation fuel in military aircraft,
Include the Senate version of the Federal Firefighters Fairness Act, that Senator Murray cosponsored and supported, which makes it easier for federally employed firefighters who contract certain cancers or diseases to qualify for federal workers' compensation,
Requires government contractors to use made-in-America semiconductor chips to help create good-paying American jobs, secure our supply chains, and bolster our economic competitiveness,
Start a pilot program to reimburse military families for certain child care costs related to a permanent change of station,
Include Maritime Administration (MARAD) Authorization Act of 2022, which has increased authorizations for programs to improve port infrastructure to help speed the shipment of freight and goods as well as invest in Washington state's maritime workforce and shipyards,
Include a provision requiring the Air Force to develop a plan to transfer KC-135 tankers to the Washington Air National Guard to ensure the airmen at Fairchild Air Force Base have the planes they need to perform their mission and increase tanker capacity for the military,
Increase access to assistive technology devices like wheel chair ramps, hearing aids, screen readers, and more for people with disabilities by passing the 21st Century Assistive Technology Act to reauthorize state assistive technology grant programs for the first time since 2004.