Congressman Veasey Statement on FY 18 NDAA
Washington, D.C. — Congressman Marc Veasey, TX-33, member of the House Armed Services Committee released the following statement after voting in favor of H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018:
“I am honored to serve on the House Armed Services Committee to ensure that Congress can provide proper resources to keep our country safe from escalating global threats. I believe that H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018, accomplishes many of these goals.
For the DFW Metroplex, this bill contains important funding for key national security programs that are critical for our local economy, like funding for 87 F-35 fighter jets, which will add over 1,000 jobs in North Texas. It also includes funding for 10 V-22 Osprey helicopters that the Marine Corps needs, which is four more than the President’s request. In addition, this year’s defense bill contains a 2.4% increase in military pay for our troops and a prohibition on conducting another round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) that could harm Texas military installations.
I am proud to announce the inclusion of a new Army scholarship at minority serving institutions: the Henry O. Flipper Scholarship, named after the first African-American West Point graduate. Furthermore, $10 million is authorized in this bill for cyber scholarships that focus on institutions with high-quality computer science, engineering, and cyber security programs, including historically black colleges and universities, and minority-serving institutions, as a way to expand the pool of talented applicants. Both measures were included at my request and I know that these efforts will contribute to our military readiness and prepare the next generation of cyberspace warriors.
In addition, I proposed two studies to help service members and their families’ mental health and financial security that were ultimately included in the final bill. One will evaluate the diversity of our nation’s officer corps and the other will examine resources for training families of service members on suicide risk factors. I am deeply committed to ending the epidemic of veteran and service member suicide. Another of my proposals was also included which ensures service members receive professional financial planning assistance as the military transitions to the new blended retirement system. This measure will ensure our service members make the best possible choices for themselves and their families’ financial futures.
For the second year, House Republicans attempted to include language that targets LGBT members of our armed services and their families. The controversial Hartzler amendment would have barred Pentagon funding from going to any general reassignment therapy, except for mental health services. I am proud to report that this amendment, which was so highly disrespectful to our service members and their families, was not included in the final bill. I’m really disappointed a measure that would prevent diverting Department of Defense funds to construct the useless border wall was included in the final version of the bill. President Trump promised that no taxpayer dollars would be used to construct the wall and the failure to include this provision will allow him to break another signature campaign promise at the expense of our national security needs.