House defense bill gets unanimous support from Alabama delegation, proposal includes 1 percent military pay raise
Alabama's House delegation threw its full support behind the compromise version of this year's defense authorization bill, setting the stage for the measure to go before the Senate just before its end-of-year break.
All of Alabama's House delegation voted for the National Defense Authorization Act, which passed on a 350-69 vote after members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committee hammered out an agreement earlier in the month. Alabama Reps. Martha Roby, Mike Rogers and Mo Brooks all serve on the HASC.
The Senate will take up the measure Wednesday in an effort to avoid failing to pass an appropriations bill for the first time in more than 50 years.
The bill includes $552.1 billion for the Department of Defense base budget and $80.7 billion - about $7.8 billion less than last year -for Overseas Contingency Operations.
Roby, R-Montgomery, said the House's success in passing a final bill is "critical to ensuring the nation's military is properly equipped and postured in 2014.
"Providing for the common defense is our fundamental duty as the Congress," Roby said. "I'm proud to represent two distinguished military installations in Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery and Fort Rucker in the Wiregrass. These installations and others like them around the world will be better able to prepare our men and women in uniform thanks to this year's NDAA."
Rogers, R-Saks, said the bill is critical to national security.
"The world remains a dangerous place and this bill plays a vital part in guiding our military. I am pleased to see passage of this important bill after a lot of hard work and many long hours," said Rogers, whose district includes Anniston Army Depot.
Brooks, whose district includes Redstone Arsenal, said the passage of the bill gives the military a needed dose of stability in the wake of a year of across-the-board cutbacks due to sequestration.
"I voted for the National Defense Authorization Act because it provides our troops with the resources they need to carry out today's missions and prepare for future threats. In the wake of sequestration, now more than ever, our warfighters recognize the value of every taxpayer dollar and the need to be good stewards with our resources," Brooks said.
Key provisions of the bill include:
Allows the president to continue with a plan for a 1 percent pay raise for military personnel but rejects increases to Tricare fees.
Directs the military to set gender-neutral occupational standards to be used to incorporate women in combat roles.
Prohibits the transfer of missile technology to Russia, something Brooks has championed in the budget process.
Stops the Russians from installing ground satellite stations in the U.S. Rogers authored the legislation to prevent the stations from being located in the U.S.
Prohibits the Pentagon from pursuing another round of Base Realignment and Closure.
Stops the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the U.S. and prohibits the construction of detainee facilities in the country.
Includes funding for the deployment of an East Coast missile defense site.
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