The Ritzville Adams County Journal - Eastern Adams County's Only Independent Voice Since 1887

National defense is a bipartisan priority


August 23, 2018

John Adams once said, “National defense is one of the cardinal duties of a statesman.”

I am pleased that the recent agreement to provide for our national defense for the upcoming fiscal year was a moment of clear unity in Congress to fulfill our constitutional duty to “provide for the common defense.”

In July, the House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 5515, the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (or NDAA) on a bipartisan vote of 359-54, and it had already passed the Senate.

President Trump signed the NDAA into law last week. H.R. 5515 authorizes funding for national defense as well as national security programs of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), including offices at the Hanford Site in Central Washington.

I was proud that my amendment to reauthorize the DOE’s Office of River Protection in Richland (ORP) through 2024 was included in the final legislation.

ORP is responsible for the treatment and disposal of 56 million gallons of chemical and radioactive waste stored in underground tanks, and my amendment reauthorizing its mission ensures that its work can continue.

H.R. 5515 also gives U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis the tools he needs to restore military readiness on land, on the sea, and in the air.

It authorizes funds to rehabilitate our aging Army equipment, build additional Air Force aircraft, and sustain and build up our Navy.

The bill also improves our posture toward strategic competitors, Russia and China, by modernizing our nuclear deterrent capability.

It strictly prohibits military-to-military cooperation with Russia and “directs a whole-of-government strategy on China to address the Chinese Communist Party’s use of political influence, economic tools, cyber activities, global infrastructure and development projects, and military activities against the United States and allies and partners.”

To help with retention in the armed forces, the NDAA fully funds a 2.6 percent pay raise for the troops, the highest increase in nine years.

It better provides for service members by authorizing a 3.4 percent increase for basic allowance for subsistence and a 2.9 percent increase for basic allowance for housing.

When it comes to the needs of our service men and women as well as the long-term challenges to our national security, the passage of the NDAA shows that national defense remains a bipartisan priority.


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