U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), late Thursday voted for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, which outlines funding priorities for the Department of Defense. The bill passed 93-7.
"We face ever-changing threats from around the globe, and our service members must have the resources they need to safeguard Americans here and abroad," said Wicker, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "Defense is a federal responsibility, and this legislation reaffirms our commitment to national security and our men and women in uniform."
Wicker, who is Ranking Member of the Seapower Subcommittee, went on to say, "our Navy must maintain an adequate balance among all classes of ships to ensure it can execute its responsibilities. The Fiscal Year 2012 shipbuilding budget funds new construction for various types and classes of ships, including an aircraft carrier, amphibious ships, submarines, and large and small surface combatants totaling more than $15 billion."
A defense authorization bill must be passed annually to set priorities for funding and resources needed to support our troops. This measure gives both short and long-term direction to the Pentagon and U.S. military leaders operating around the world.
Wicker authored two amendments that were added to the bill. One amendment would prevent military chaplains from being forced to perform a marriage ceremony if the chaplain objects for reasons of conscience. Another would help reduce red tape for former service members who apply for a commercial driver's license, making it easier for veterans to gain employment in the trucking sector.
Regarding the amendments, Wicker added, "these two pieces of legislation received broad, bi-partisan support. I will continue to work to make sure they become law."