Larsen Votes to Override President Trump’s Veto of the National Defense Authorization Act
Washington, D.C., December 28, 2020
Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) voted to override President Trump’s veto of the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Larsen, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, voted by proxy after testing positive for the COVID-19 virus last week.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) voted to override President Trump’s veto of the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Larsen, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, voted by proxy after testing positive for the COVID-19 virus last week.
“I voted to override the president’s veto to support the women and men of the military and strengthen national security,” said Larsen. “The NDAA increases pay for servicemembers, establishes changes to rename military bases after American heroes instead of Confederate traitors, and spurs innovative research to prepare for future conflicts.”
The NDAA includes provisions that benefit Northwest Washington’s military families, installations, communities and veterans.
Supporting Servicemembers, Military Families
The NDAA gives servicemembers a 3 percent raise. The bill includes Larsen’s solution to ensure sailors are paid Family Separation Allowance while under orders to remain on board a ship while at home port. The NDAA also ensures all federal employees benefit from paid parental leave policies. Last year’s NDAA excluded the women and men who work at the Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as other civilian employees.
Protecting Communities from PFAS
Larsen is committed to ensuring families living on or around Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NASWI) and the Outlying Landing Field in Coupeville have access to safe and clean drinking water. The NDAA takes steps to further protect military communities from PFAS, including $1.4 billion for environmental cleanup.
Mitigating Jet Noise
In communities surrounding military installations like NASWI, aviation noise is a frequent concern. Larsen secured $4 million for jet noise reduction research. Larsen also worked with Senator Maria Cantwell to ensure a 12-month extension of the ongoing real-time sound monitoring study at NASWI.
Boosting Impact Aid
Impact Aid is important for military students and schools that serve them, including several in Northwest Washington. Larsen successfully included $50 million for supplemental Impact Aid payments to schools that serve military students, like Oak Harbor School District on Whidbey Island.
Ensuring a More Inclusive, Diverse and Representative Military
The NDAA establishes the long-overdue process to remove names of Confederate traitors from Department of Defense bases and other assets. The bill also creates a Chief Diversity Officer and a Senior Advisor for Diversity and Inclusion in each branch of military service, including the Coast Guard.
Developing AI/Emerging Tech
The NDAA includes Larsen’s provision requiring the Secretary of Defense identify and mitigate vulnerabilities in the military’s telecommunications infrastructure. The NDAA also includes legislation to coordinate artificial intelligence (AI) research, establish national AI institutes, fund AI grants to educational institutions and support best practices and standards for AI. The bill also includes workforce recommendations from the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence.
Supporting Vietnam War-Era Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange
The NDAA provides long overdue health coverage for Vietnam War-era veterans by adding Parkinson’s disease, bladder cancer and hypothyroidism to the list of diseases associated with Agent Orange exposure. This change will benefit nearly 34,000 veterans.
Supporting the Coast Guard
The NDAA includes the bipartisan Elijah E. Cummings Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2020 which strengthens maritime security, improves shoreside infrastructure investment, protects the environment and supports more than 87,000 Coasties. The bill also directs the Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to provide recommendations on Southern Resident Killer Whale conservation in Puget Sound.
Strengthening Relationships with NATO, International Allies and Partners
The U.S. must continue to cooperate with its international allies and partners. Larsen championed a provision to support the Department of Defense’s research and development work by facilitating greater international cooperation on research and development with NATO and allied and friendly foreign countries. The NDAA also authorizes $2.2 billion to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to the Asia-Pacific region.
For a full summary of the NDAA, click here.