Today, the House approved H.R. 2740, legislation that included Congressman Visclosky’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Defense Appropriation Act, by a vote of 226 to 203.
Congressman Pete Visclosky stated, “This bill makes several efforts to focus on the well-being and morale of those in uniform, their families, DoD civilians, and defense communities. For example, in addition to a 3.1 percent pay raise for our women and men in uniform, the bill also provides increased funds for military childcare facilities because I believe that access to affordable and quality childcare is vital to retention in our all-volunteer force, particularly for mid-career enlisted personnel and officers. I look forward to continuing to work with all Members of Congress to complete our work prior to the start of the new Fiscal Year.”
As Chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Congressman Visclosky was responsible for drafting the FY 2020 Defense Appropriations Act. In general, the measure includes $690.2 billion for the Department of Defense, which is $15.8 billion more than the FY 2019 enacted level, and aims to provide investments needed to defend the nation against evolving threats, prepare for future challenges, and meet the needs of service members and military families.
Congressman Visclosky highlighted several provisions of the measure during his prepared remarks on the House floor, including the following statements:
- “The bill provides a 3.1 percent pay raise for our women and men in uniform. This is the largest increase in basic pay since 2010 and maintains the Committee’s commitment to ensuring our all-volunteer force is compensated for their sacrifices.
- “I believe that access to affordable and quality childcare is vital to retention in the all-volunteer force, particularly for mid-career enlisted and officers. Thousands of military children, including over 9,000 whose parents serve in the Navy, are wait-listed for Childcare Development Centers. I am disappointed that with such demonstrated need the military services’ requests for childcare facilities were relatively unchanged from prior years. To get at this backlog, the bill provides an additional $70.7 million for upgrades to military childcare facilities, which is complementary to an effort included in the FY20 Military Construction Appropriation measure to accelerate the construction of new Childcare Development Centers.
- “The pervasiveness of sexual assault amongst service members is deeply abhorrent and it is disheartening that the most recent report on the subject shows that sexual assaults across the U.S. military increased by a rate of nearly 38 percent in 2018, with over two-thirds of assaults going unreported. The bill provides $297.2 million for Sexual Assault Prevention and Response programs at the Service level, $13.5 million above the FY19 enacted level and equal to the request. It also provides an additional $35 million for Special Victims Counsel for victims of sexual assault and $3 million for a Sexual Trauma Treatment Pilot Program for treatment of members of the Armed Forces for PTSD Related to Military Sexual Trauma.
- “The bill provides $1.26 billion for environmental restoration activities, which is $188 million above the request. This includes $13 million for a nationwide health study on the implications of PFOS/PFOA at former and current domestic military installations. Further, the report directs the Department to achieve a drinking water cleanup standard equal to or better than the EPA health advisory level for federally controlled sites and surrounding communities whose water sources were contaminated because of Department activities.”
Additionally, the measure includes $142 billion for the procurement of ground vehicles, aircraft, ships, munitions, and other equipment, and also includes strengthened Buy America requirements to ensure that American taxpayer dollars support the American workforce and the industrial base. Further, the measure includes $101.5 billion for basic and applied scientific research, development, and the testing of new technologies and equipment, which supports academic and research communities to ensure our nation has the capabilities and knowledge to meet national security challenges.
Finally, the bill includes $1.3 billion for the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account, which was not included in the Administration’s budget request. Indiana is home to the 6th largest State Guard, and this funding will aim to ensure that all soldiers and airmen in guard and reserve components will have the resources to procure high-priority equipment used in missions to support both the military and state governors.