Senate Sends to President Legislation to Provide Military More Equipment and Training, Expand Military Families’ Access to Health Care

Posted on November 16, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 16, 2017 – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement after the Senate passed the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Report:

“We owe our service men and women in uniform a debt of gratitude, and the defense bill helps ensure they receive the support and resources they need,” Alexander said. “Not only is Congress authorizing pay raises for troops at Ft. Campbell and the Naval Support Activity Mid-South in Millington, the bill reforms and modernizes the military health care system to improve and expand access to care for military families. This bill also authorizes funding for advanced equipment to help ensure the men and women of the armed forces have the tools they need protect American interests at home and abroad.”

Alexander continued: “Finally, this legislation strengthens our national security by supporting important programs at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge to help maintain our nuclear weapons arsenal.”

Alexander also worked on legislation that accompanied the conference report that will speed safe drugs and devices for use in battlefield emergencies. “There was a problem and this legislation is going to give FDA the tools to solve that problem by getting safe and effective medicines more rapidly to warfighters on the battlefield,” he said.

The defense bill authorizes $692 billion in funding for the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy, which includes the following priorities:

  • A 2.4 percent pay increase for members of the military, including troops at Ft. Campbell and the Naval Support Activity Mid-South in Millington, and reauthorizes more than 30 bonuses and special payments for service men and women.
  • $21 billion for Department of Energy national security programs, which support critical work in Oak Ridge.
  • Modernizing our nation’s nuclear stockpile, including a replacement strategic missile submarine, defense-related environmental cleanup, and nuclear energy programs at the Department of Energy.
  • Proposes to eliminate $1.8 billion in excessive and unnecessary spending and reinvests those savings in our military.
  • Supports U.S. military forces stationed in Europe to counter Russian aggression.
  • A prohibition on transferring detainees at Guantanamo Bay to the United States.
  • Proposes funding for advanced equipment to help ensure the men and women of the armed forces have the tools they need protect American interests abroad and work with our allies to defeat ISIL, al Qaeda, and other violent extremist organizations.
  • The bill seeks to reform and modernize the military health system to improve access to care, expand choices of health plans and modernize TRICARE, the Department of Defense health program for military service members, retirees and their dependents.

The bill now heads to the president’s desk so it can be signed into law.