Alexander: $611.2 Billion Defense Bill Means Troops Will Receive Better Pay, New Equipment, More Training and Support

Posted on December 8, 2016

WASHINGTON, Dec. 8, 2016 - U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement after the Senate passed a bipartisan agreement for the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that establishes the nation’s military spending priorities:

 “Governing is about setting priorities, and this bill shows our priority is the men and women who serve in our armed forces. The Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act authorizes $3.2 billion more for our national security than what President Obama requested, including higher pay raises for our troops, such as those who are serving at Ft. Campbell and the Naval Support Activity Mid-South in Millington. The legislation will also help improve health care for our servicemen and women and their families,” Alexander said. “This bill will also strengthen our national security by supporting important programs at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge to maintain our nuclear weapons arsenal.”

The NDAA conference report bill authorizes $611.2 billion in funding for the Department of Defense and Department of Energy, which includes the following priorities:

  • Authorizes $3.2 billion more than what President Obama proposed in February to increase the number of military troops. 16,000 more soldiers in the Army, 3,000 more Marines, and nearly 4,000 more Air Force personnel.
  • A 2.1 percent pay increase for members of the military, which is higher than the president requested, and will help 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.
  • $19.4 billion for Department of Energy national security programs, which support critical work at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge.
  • Funding for our nation’s nuclear stockpile, a replacement strategic missile submarine, defense-related environmental cleanup at the Department of Energy.
  • Eliminates excessive and unnecessary spending and reinvests those savings in our military.
  • A prohibition on transferring detainees at Guantanamo Bay to the United States.
  • Provides advanced equipment to 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 Senate passed its original version of the legislation by a vote of 85 to 13 on June 14.

After a conference with the House of Representatives, the House passed the conference report for the National Defense Authorization Act last Friday by a vote of 375-34.

The Senate passed the conference report today by a vote of 92-7. The bipartisan legislation is now ready to send to the president’s desk so it can become law.

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For access to this release and the senator’s other statements, click here.

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