Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement today after the House passed the conference report to the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Loebsack, a former member the House Armed Services Committee, helped incorporate several provisions in this year’s legislation that will help create jobs here at home, increase defense research and strengthen the Rock Island Arsenal. This bill represents the final agreement between a joint House-Senate committee that was convened to work out the differences between the two chamber’s bills. The conference report passed the House on a large bipartisan basis and now heads to the Senate before going to the President’s desk.
Loebsack worked to include a provision to extend Temporary Installation Reutilization Authority for leasing excess space at Army arsenals, depots, and plants through September 30, 2025. This will allow the Rock Island Arsenal to continue leveraging private investment through long-term facility use contracts, property management contracts, leases or other such agreements.
Additionally, Loebsack worked with the Armed Services Committee to include language that will require the Secretary of Defense to report on the status of legislation included in last year’s defense bill that directs DoD to work with private industry and academia to accelerate development of human factors modeling and simulation technologies to support soldier training and performance. This will help strengthen cooperation between the DoD and existing human factors modeling and simulation research projects, including the University of Iowa’s Virtual Soldier Research program, further enhancing academic research and development and the University.
“Our men and women in uniform, along with their families, proudly and honorably serve our country and this bill will help ensure they have the resources they need. At the same time, this bill is certainly not perfect and failed to include many important provisions, which must be addressed in the future,” said Loebsack. “I am pleased the legislation takes important steps to drive additional workload to the Rock Island Arsenal, which helps both the Arsenal and Quad Cities’ economy remain strong. Additionally, I am especially pleased that this bill finally eliminates the Widow’s Tax and also provides all federal employees with 12 weeks of paid parental leave. As a military parent, I was proud to work with members from both sides of the aisle to ensure the security of our nation and provide our troops with the support they need.”
Additionally, Loebsack pushed to include many provisions important to our troops and their families, including:
· Provides for a 3.1 percent pay increase for the troops, the largest pay increase in a decade;
· Repeals the “widow’s tax” which requires military surviving spouses to forfeit all or part of their military Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuity if they become eligible for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) payments when their spouse dies;
· Provides 12 weeks of paid parental leave for the entire federal workforce in the case of birth, adoption, or fostering;
· Requires DoD to develop a comprehensive mental health policy and requires a report on the effectiveness of suicide prevention programs;
· Creates greater protections for military families by establishing rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants of privatized military housing, requiring DoD to identify and measure health and safety hazards in housing, and providing additional funding to improve oversight and management of military family housing; and,
· Prohibits an additional round of BRAC.
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