Get the Daily News Digest in your inbox each morning. Sign Up

Alabama Republicans praise Congress’ passage of NDAA

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks, and other Republicans in Alabama’s D.C. delegation praised Friday the U.S. House’s passage of the National Defense Authorization Act. 

“There is no investment more important than the one we make in the men and women who serve in our All-Volunteer Force,” Rogers, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said.

“We cannot kick the can down the road when it comes to providing for our service members. Today, the House voted to increase pay for junior enlisted service members by 19.5%, improve unaccompanied housing, expand service member access to child care and health care, and support military spouses.”

The Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate will work on its version of the bill and a final vote isn’t expected until after the November election, Stephen Boyd wrote for Alabama Daily News last week. 

The House’s bill authorizes $874.2 billion in the coming year for defense spending, keeping with President Joe Biden’s budget request, the AP reported.

The defense bill provides an expected 5.2% pay raise for service members but strays from traditional military policy with Republicans add-ons blocking abortion coverage, diversity initiatives at the Pentagon and transgender care that deeply divided the chamber, The Associated Press reported.

The final vote was 219-210, with four Democrats siding with the GOP and four Republicans opposed. The bill, as written, is expected to go nowhere in the Democratic-majority Senate.

U.S. Rep. Dale Strong, R-Huntsville, praised the bill and its implications for his military heavy district.

“This year’s NDAA is laser-focused on supporting our service members and ensuring they have what they need to keep our country safe,” he said. “Once again, the NDAA will make a positive and direct impact to support the crucial work done here in North Alabama.”

“… No service member should have to decide between serving their country or providing for their family. We must do better for the men and women who choose to fight for our country, especially our junior enlisted.” 

The FY25 NDAA authorizes millions of dollars in funding for military construction projects, including $159.7 million for five Alabama projects, with $88 million for Redstone Arsenal, Strong said. 

The pay increases will benefit 26,000 service members in Alabama.

The bill also reverses a Biden administration decision to cease production of the Standard Missile 3 Block 1B interceptors, assembled at Redstone Arsenal. 

Efforts to halt U.S. funding for Ukraine in its war against Russia were turned back, but Republicans added provisions to stem the Defense Department’s diversity initiatives and to restrict access to abortions, the AP reported. The abortion issue has been championed by Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala.

Rep. Barry Moore, R-Enterprise, also praised the passage. The bill includes an amendment by Moore to require the Department of Defense to notify a state’s senators and members of Congress that represent the affected military installation if they reprogram money away from that installation.

Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Birmingham, voted against the bill, as did most Democrats. In a written statement, she said it had been “hijacked and poisoned by extreme MAGA Republicans.”

“I am beyond disappointed that House Republican leadership has once again abandoned a 62-year long tradition of bipartisanship and used our national defense bill to advance their wish list of extreme partisan demands,” Sewell said.

“I cannot vote for a bill that would rip basic health care away from our service members and make bigotry and discrimination a centerpiece of our Armed Forces. It is my hope that these partisan provisions will be stripped during Senate negotiations so that I can vote for a strong bipartisan defense bill. House Republicans need to stop playing games with our national security.”

Her comments about health care center on the rollback of a DOD policy helping service women travel to get abortions and amendments to strip medically necessary care for LGBTQ+ service members.

Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Birmingham, praised the bill for some of the same reasons Sewell voted against it. He said it fully funds the U.S.’s nuclear deterrent and eliminates “harmful DEI policies that hurt recruitment.”

“Not only should we ensure our military is equipped, but those protecting our freedoms on the front line should be taken care of when they return home,” he said.

“The Service Member Quality of Life Improvement and National Defense Authorization Act for FY25 provides a 19.5 percent pay raise for junior enlisted and a 4.5 percent pay raise for service members across the board. In addition to this bill increasing quality of life, it also takes a large step towards protecting life by prohibiting the Secretary of Defense from using taxpayer funds to pay for abortion expenses.” 

Get the Daily News Digest in your inbox each morning.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Web Development By Infomedia