Ruppersberger Supports House-Passed Defense Authorization Bill with Pay Raise for Troops
(Washington, DC) – Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, a Defense Appropriator, tonight voted in favor of legislation authorizing $768 billion in national defense-related activities, including a 2.7 percent pay raise for troops, an expansion of parental leave for caregivers in military families and historic changes to better combat sexual assault in the military. The bill significantly improves military health care, counters extremism within our ranks and establishes a $15 minimum wage for certain defense contractors, which have a strong presence in Maryland’s Second District.
The National Defense Authorization Act, which passed the House of Representatives 316-113, authorizes spending by the Department of Defense (DOD) and the defense-related activities of the Department of Energy, as well as Overseas Contingency Operations. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees will determine final funding levels.
Congressman Ruppersberger’s district is home to both Fort Meade and Aberdeen Proving Ground, as well as several National Guard facilities. In addition to serving on the Defense Appropriations Committee, Congressman Ruppersberger co-chairs the bipartisan House Army Caucus and is Chairman of the U.S. Naval Academy Board of Visitors, on which he has served for the last 12 years.
“This bill makes historic policy changes that will benefit our service members, their families and the defense-based workforce including thousands that call Maryland home,” Congressman Ruppersberger said. “It ensures the United States has what it needs to confront growing physical threats while we continue to tackle the security threats presented by the ongoing pandemic, climate crisis and racial injustice.”
The bill authorizes $500 million to support Afghans relocating under Special Immigrant Visas and other at-risk Afghans. It requires the Secretary of Defense to provide Congress with in-depth reports and briefings on our ability to combat terrorism in Afghanistan moving forward, an account of military equipment left behind and the plan to rescue American citizens and Afghan allies who remain in the country.
Congressman Ruppersberger voted in favor of scores of amendments among hundreds proposed by his House colleagues, including measures that:
- Prevent military action in Syria without congressional authorization (failed);
- Prevent the military from transferring equipment to law enforcement agencies (failed);
- Reduce spending levels from $740 billion to the President’s request of $715 billion (failed);
- Require the Pentagon to conduct a timely and transparent investigation into the wrongful drone attack that killed as many as 10 civilians in Kabul and compensate the families of the victims (passed);
- Impose limits on arms sales to Saudi Arabia in response to the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi (passed).