MacArthur Scores Six Legislative Victories in Nation’s Defense Bill
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom MacArthur today applauded the passage of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) out of the U.S. House of Representatives.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2017 is the primary way Congress meets its most important constitutional obligation to “provide for the common defense.” It advances the vital funding and authorities that America’s Military requires. In today’s world of unprecedented threats, uncertainty, and technological change, the NDAA seeks to improve the readiness of our military and address declining resources.
Congressman MacArthur sits on the House Armed Services Committee, and proposed six individual provisions that have been included in the NDAA. Last year, Congressman MacArthur successfully secured language in the joint bill that prevents the retirement of the KC-10 until at least the end of the 2017 fiscal year.
“I am extremely pleased our six provisions to protect Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and secure and strengthen the military have been included in the National Defense Authorization Act,” said Congressman MacArthur. “Our provisions will give an overdue pay raise to our troops, initiate East Coast missile defense and protect military families with our adoption leave policy and expedited care for children with rare medical anomalies. Additionally, we can rest assured that our language banning a military base closure and realignment has been included once again. Protecting Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and the many that rely on it remains one of my top priorities.”
This year, MacArthur fought for six provisions to benefit military families and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst – all six were included in the bill:
- Ban on Base Realignment and Closure – MacArthur’s language banning a base closure through fiscal year 2017 has been included in the final NDAA
- “As the largest employer in Southern New Jersey, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst remains a critical part of our region’s economy and national defense,” said Congressman MacArthur. “That’s why I’ve taken meaningful actions in Congress to protect the future of the Joint Base and the brave military men & women who serve there. A potential BRAC would have a devastating effect on the communities surrounding the Joint Base and I’m pleased our protections have been once again been included.
- Joint Base Wage Parity – MacArthur’s provision urges the Office of Personal and Management (OPM) to adopt a recommendation that would correct the wage grade pay-parity issue at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and bring wage grade employees onto a single locality pay.
- “This provision will give our military families a raise and create pay equality at the Joint Base,” said Congressman MacArthur.
- Adoption Leave for Military Families – MacArthur’s Adoption Leave for Military Families language has been included in the final NDAA. This provision will allow couples serving in the military to take leave immediately following the adoption of a child, similar to the leave available after childbirth.
- “I have been blessed with both natural born and adopted children, and I know how important it is to have that period to bond,” said Congressman MacArthur. “Through adoption, couples come to understand that parenting is not about biological origins, but the profound relationship between a mother or father and their child. I want our military families to have this experience with a smooth transition. Our military families have already sacrificed so much, and I want to support them regardless of how they are building their family.”
- U.S. Israel Security Cooperation – MacArthur’s provision would provide for the sharing of research and development costs between the United States and Israel to develop directed energy capabilities to detect and defeat ballistic missiles. These directed energy capabilities would detect and defeat ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, mortars and improvised explosive devices that threaten the United States, our forces overseas and Israel.
- “Today’s rapidly evolving threats have changed our approach to national security both at home, and abroad,” said Congressman MacArthur. “We must make vital investments in missile defense and further expand our partnership with Israel in this field which has made great strides in recent years, and will offer the U.S. and Israel a less expensive and highly capable defense system. As our closest ally in a highly unstable part of the world, Israel faces countless threats and challenges to her very existence, including the ballistic missile testing conducted by Iran last week which included the insult “Israel should be wiped off the earth” written in Hebrew on one of the missiles. It is abundantly clear that there is no time to waste in helping to improve the defense of both the US and Israel.”
- Treatment of Fetal Anomalies – MacArthur’s provision would allow military families facing medical complications with their children the ability to seek immediate medical treatment by avoiding the cumbersome referral process.
- “As a father, I know how helpless you can feel when your child is faced with a serious illness,” said Congressman MacArthur. “I want to ensure our military families receive swift and immediate attention for their children if they are facing serious anomalies and difficult health problems.”
- Aegis Ashore Missile Site– MacArthur’s provision pushes for a missile defense interceptor site to increase national security. Current missile defense interceptor sites exist in California and Alaska, but we lack one on the East Coast of the United States. The prospect of an Aegis Ashore site offers an affordable way to protect large population centers from ballistic missile attacks.
- “As the Representative of a significant number of people who lost loved ones during the 9/11 attacks, I take securing the East Coast very seriously,” said Congressman MacArthur. “Terrorists have shown in the past that they view cities like New York, Washington, and Boston as targets and will not hesitate to attack. Any increase in protection is certainly warranted and this study will present an alternative option and a proactive approach to our national security agenda.”