Washington, DC — Today, Rep. Lucy McBath (GA-06) voted to approve the Conference Report on H.R. 6395, the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021. The bill supports a military pay raise, works to ensure that our servicemembers and their families live in quality housing, improves sexual assault prevention and response programs, and provides funding for America’s common defense. The measure passed by a bipartisan vote of 287-60.
“Our service men and women sacrifice so much to protect our country, our citizens, and our freedoms,” said McBath. “My father, brother, and nephew all served this nation in uniform, and I am committed to supporting those who defend this nation and our values. The bipartisan measure we approved in the House today strengthens our national security, supports those who sacrifice for our nation, and moves our nation toward a safer and more secure future. I was proud to vote to pass it.”
This bipartisan Conference Report includes provisions that:
Provide A Pay Raise for Our Troops
- Continues to improve the quality of life of our service men and women by authorizing support for a 3.0 percent pay increase for our service men and women.
Authorize Hazard Duty Pay for Service Members in Harm’s Way
- Authorizes the Secretary of Defense to standardize payment of hazardous duty pay for the uniformed services, including the members of the Guard and National Reserve. It also increases Hazardous Duty Pay from $250 to $275 per month.
Require Improvements in Military Housing
- Takes several steps to improve military housing, including updating minimum health and safety standards for all military base housing, repealing a provision that currently allows DOD to place families in substandard housing units, and requiring DOD to implement Comptroller General recommendations for improvement of military family housing.
Improve Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Programs
- Creates a task force to study and make recommendations on domestic violence within the military services.
- Enables victims of sexual harassment to make confidential reports of sexual harassment outside of the chain of command.
- Requires the Secretary of Defense to implement a Safe to Report Policy across the Services, enabling victims to report sexual assaults without fear of punishment for certain minor collateral misconduct.
- Requires the Secretaries of Defense and Veterans Affairs to jointly develop, implement, and maintain a standard of coordinated care for members of the Armed Forces who are survivors of sexual trauma.
Increase Support for Child Care for Military Families and DOD Employees
- Authorizes the Secretary of Defense to furnish child care to each child of a member of the Armed Forces or civilian employee of the DOD while that member or employee works on rotating shifts at a military installation.
Provide Long Overdue Benefits to Vietnam-Era Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange
- Provides long-overdue benefits to Vietnam-era veterans exposed to Agent Orange, including adding Parkinsonism, bladder cancer and hypothyroidism to the list of diseases associated with exposure to Agent Orange.
Make Key Investments in Military Infrastructure
- Authorizes $8.4 billion in military construction projects to fortify critical infrastructure and base realignment and closure clean up.
Authorize COVID-19 Pandemic Response
- Requires one of the Assistant Secretaries to be the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Policy,whose principal duties will involve the overall supervision of policy for DOD for developing and maintaining the defense industrial base of the U.S. and ensuring a secure supply of materials critical to national security.
- Authorizes a total of over $494 million for the Maritime Security Program, $180 million more than the President’s budget, to help mitigate the impacts of COVID on our maritime carriers.
Establish an Independent Commission to Make Recommendations Removing or Modifying Names, Symbols, Displays, Etc. Honoring the Confederacy or Individuals Serving Voluntarily with the Confederacy from All DOD Assets
- Establishes an independent commission to make binding recommendations to the Secretary of Defense for the modification or removal of all names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederacy or any person who served voluntarily with the Confederacy from all assets of the Department of Defense.
Ensure Paid Parental Leave Extended to All Federal Employees
- Makes technical corrections to the paid parental leave benefit provided through the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act to ensure that the Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, and certain other civilian federal employees inadvertently omitted from the legislation receive the parental leave benefit.
Address Climate Change
- Requires a report on the implementation of provisions from the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act related to installation master planning, updates to the Unified Facilities Criteria (building codes), sea-level rise modeling, and climate assessment tools.
- Establishes an alternative fuel vehicle pilot program that will require the military department to expand their use of alternative fuel non-tactical vehicles to increase the use of hybrid and EV vehicles.
- Requires DOD to invest in research and development of advanced water harvesting technologies that would aid in addressing water security issues in areas impacted by drought due to climate change.
- Requires the military services to assess their water use at installations in regions experiencing water scarcity, maximize use of landscaping practices that reduce water usage, and improve their water conservation.
- Requires DOD to submit a report on its greenhouse gas emissions for the last 10 years within 180 days of enactment.