Veasey Statement on NDAA FY 17 Conference Report
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Marc Veasey, TX-33, member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement after voting in favor of the conference report to accompany S. 2943, National Defense Authorization Act Fiscal Year 2017, which authorizes funding for the Department of Defense:
“The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is a testament to our nation’s commitment to equipping our troops with the tools they need to keep our country safe at home and abroad while upholding our promise to support our nation’s veterans, servicemembers, and their families.
I am proud to report that the FY 17 NDAA compromise includes funding for 63 new F-35 aircraft. This critical investment in our nation’s defense will not only allow the DFW Metroplex to contribute to the safety of our troops but will also strengthen our local and national economic prosperity.
Additionally, per my request, a discrepancy between survivor benefits for fallen service members of differing active duty statuses was finally remedied. This long overdue change will now make available equal survivor benefits for all who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country and will hopefully alleviate some of the financial stress experienced by our military families.
I am also pleased to report that today’s compromise excludes the Russell amendment, a dangerous provision which would have permitted discrimination based on an individual’s religious beliefs, gender, or sexual orientation.
Although the bill includes a number of key aspects that support defense programs critical to the DFW Metroplex, the FY2017 NDAA irresponsibly authorizes $67.8 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding for base requirements in ways that leaders in both parties have made clear are inappropriate. Since my tenure, I have strongly advocated lifting sequester caps, so I would prefer that these provisions were not included as this funding structure leaves our military without the necessary resources until mid-next year. Nonetheless, I supported the bill in order to protect and advance our nation’s military interests and protect our service members.
Today’s vote is a step forward in achieving cost-saving goals without affecting our military readiness or failing to provide benefits to members of the armed services, veterans, or their families.”