Barletta Votes to Strengthen Military, Give Pay Raise
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today voted for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes funding for members of our military and their families and helps to keep Americans safe. The FY18 NDAA authorizes $626 billion for the Department of Defense base budget, $66 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations, and $8 billion for other defense activities. In total, the bill provides nearly $700 billion in funding for our nation’s defense operations, a $74.2 billion (12 percent) increase over the current funding level. The bill passed by a bipartisan vote of 356 – 70 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.
“America needs a strong national defense to maintain peace through strength. It is the responsibility of the federal government to ensure the men and women who serve our country are paid and equipped with the resources they need to meet all threats,” Barletta said. “This bill accomplishes those goals. We finally have a partner in the White House who is committed to rebuilding our military and fully funding our national defense. I am especially pleased that this bill increases pay for our troops and their families, and prevents another round of base closures. The bill also includes language I pushed for that ensures our service men and women serving in Europe have access to reliable American energy sources. Overall, this is a strong bill for a strong military.”
The package authorizes a 2.4 percent pay raise for military personnel, improves the delivery of health care services, and includes additional provisions to support those diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or Traumatic Brain Injury. This is the largest pay increase given to our service members in eight years. It also boosts our military’s readiness to confront threats by authorizing increases to the size of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. To ensure our troops are safe and supplied with the resources they need to carry out their missions, the bill makes important investments in maintaining and modernizing military equipment.
The final conference agreement also contains language Barletta pushed for requiring military installations in Europe to reduce dependence on Russian energy sources, which leave our service men and women vulnerable to the political whims of foreign officials. Already, Russian natural gas makes up a majority of the fuel mix used by some military instillations. This is a national security issue of the upmost importance.
“We need to ensure that American bases in Europe are fueled by American energy—it’s just that simple. Our advances in technology and recent findings of new energy resources gives the United States a new foreign policy tool to leverage recent Russian aggression. It’s time we take advantage.”
In the House version of the FY18 NDAA, which passed in July by a vote of 344 to 81, Barletta helped to defeat an amendment that would have allowed for conducting an additional round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC). The bill approved by the House today also prohibits closing or consolidating military bases.
“We should not move forward with closing military bases when the cost savings and effect on our military readiness is not clear,” Barletta said. “The Army War College is a huge asset for Carlisle,” Barletta said. “This bill will keep it safe from a BRAC and ensure that it has the resources and support it needs to continue serving our community.”