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Defense bill includes support for military sexual assault survivors, pay raise for troops and specific funds for Idaho DOD facilities

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) today supported the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Report.  This year’s NDAA charts a consensus national defense policy that continues the restoration of military readiness; implements a National Defense Strategy to confront Russia, China and other adversaries; and cares for U.S. troops and their families. As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Idaho’s Senators secured significant wins critical to our nation’s security and national defense. The President is expected to sign the bill into law.

“I applaud the overwhelmingly bipartisan passage of the NDAA for fiscal year 2020 today,”  said Risch. “This year’s NDAA gives our troops the largest pay raise in a decade and provides big wins for Idaho, including vital resources for Mountain Home Air Force Base, Bayview’s Acoustic Research Detachment and the Idaho National Guard. In addition to fulfilling our obligations to the U.S. military, the NDAA also includes a number of important provisions related to my work as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. This historic bill is good for Idaho, good for U.S. national security, and I look forward to seeing President Trump sign it into law.”

“One of Congress’s most serious responsibilities is to provide for the common defense of the United States,” Crapo said. “The Fiscal Year 2020 NDAA supplies the resources our women and men in uniform need to conduct their missions forcefully and efficiently both at home and abroad.  We owe our gratitude to the women and men at Mountain Home Air Force Base and the Idaho National Guard, and final passage of the NDAA sends a clear message that Congress has their back.  The NDAA contains several wins for Idaho Department of Defense facilities and projects, and will preserve American eminence in worldwide national security.”

Senator Risch and Crapo secured a number of other provisions in final passage, including: 

  • A provision to establish a two-year pilot program with the Idaho National Lab and other national laboratories to analyze security vulnerabilities in our cybersecurity systems and research and test technology to protect our country from cyberattacks;
  • A provision to direct the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, in coordination with the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency and other interagency partners, to submit to Congress a plan for strengthening supply chain intelligence function;
  • A provision to modify the Transition Assistance Program (TAP), which provides assistance to servicemembers returning to civilian life, to include TAP in command climate assessments;
  • A provision to expand TAP counseling to include servicemembers participating in the SkillBridge program, which connects servicemembers with industry partners in real-world job experiences during the their last 180 days of service; and
  • Repeal of the “ military widow’s tax,” which unfairly reduced survivor benefit plan annuities.
As chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Risch secured a number of other provisions in final passage within the committee’s jurisdiction, including:
  • A provision to sanction companies laying the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Europe if they do not cease their operations in order to counter Russia’s malign influence while helping protect the integrity of Europe’s energy sector;
  • A provision to sanction the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian backers for committing countless atrocities against the Syrian people; and
  • A provision to ensure no Department of Defense funds may be used to transfer any F-35 aircraft or related parts to Turkey while S-400s are in the country under Turkish control. Senator Risch met with Turkish President Erdogan at the White House in November to reaffirm the Senate’s firm position that Turkey cannot retain both programs at the same time, and voiced that there would be consequences should they do so.

As chairman of the Banking Committee, Senator Crapo also secured a number of other provisions in final passage within the committee’s jurisdiction, including:

  • A provision to allow the federal government to rapidly adopt measures to safeguard the production and delivery of vital national security assets and ensure servicemembers have equipment that is not compromised by adversaries like China, Iran and Russia;
  • A provision to strengthen and expand U.S. sanctions on North Korea and its financial facilitators and supporters;
  • A provision to prevent federal funds from being used by transit agencies to purchase rail cars or buses manufactured by Chinese state-owned, controlled or subsidized companies; and
  • A provision to authorize new streams of funding and give the Administration more tools to combat the trafficking of opioids into the United States from China, Mexico and elsewhere.

The FY 2020 NDAA includes specific authorized funds for various Idaho projects, including: 

  • Site-wide security, cleanup and waste disposal at the Idaho National Laboratory;
  • Enhancements to the Idaho Army National Guard’s Orchard Combat Training Area; and
  • The Spent Fuel Handling Recapitalization Project at the Naval Reactor Facility. 

Additional highlights include: 

  • Advances an international order to counter competition efforts from adversaries like Russia and China;
  • Provisions to decrease threats from rogue regimes like Iran and North Korea;
  • The most substantial overhaul of the Privatized Military Housing Initiative since its creation in 1996;
  • Support for an all-volunteer force, including policies to address sexual misconduct and retaliation against victims, 3.1 percent pay increase for servicemembers, and increased employment opportunities for military spouses;
  • No restrictions on border security funding; and
  • Establishment of the U.S. Space Force.

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