PLASKETT HIGHLIGHTS VI PROVISIONS IN NATIONAL DEFENSE BILL FOR FISCAL 2023
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Plaskett, a Member of the House Ways and Means, Budget and Agriculture Committees, released the following statement regarding H.R.7776 – The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023:
“I am pleased that the Democrat-led House successfully passed H.R. 7776, the bipartisan, bicameral NDAA—a defense bill that benefits those in uniform and advances the American people’s national security priorities. This year’s NDAA reflects our enduring belief that people are the heart of America’s defense; investing in the foundation of our strengths here at home keeps us competitive abroad.
“This bill includes my amendment for the Department of Defense (DOD) to study and report to Congress on U.S. military capabilities in the Caribbean. The study and report must include an assessment of the need to increase capabilities regarding counterdrug and counter-trafficking operations; combating transnational criminal organizations; disaster preparedness and response; and countering China and Russia’s malign influences in the Caribbean region.
“With the FY2023 NDAA, House Democrats have advanced a range of key national security priorities – that are also beneficial to VI:
- Key pay increases for service members and their families, including a 4.6 percent pay raise for service members.
- Requires the Veterans Affairs Department to establish the Advisory Committee on United States Outlying Areas to provide advice and guidance to the VA on matters relating to veterans residing in U.S. territories, including the Virgin Islands. Among other duties, the committee would also advise the VA on how to improve its programs and services to better serve veterans living in the territories.
- Includes the Water Resources Development Act of 2022, which authorizes a $1.584 million project to improve wastewater infrastructure in the Virgin Islands, to be carried out by the Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority. It also includes Virgin Islands coastal waters in a Corps of Engineers demonstration program for detecting, preventing, treating, and eliminating harmful algal blooms such as sargassum.
- Requires FEMA to waive repayment requirements for those who received disaster aid because of FEMA error, as long as no fraud was involved
- Provides short-term mental health resources to disaster victims.
- Reauthorizes the Coral Reef Conservation program and updates and reauthorizes several National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Ocean mapping programs. It also creates a program to improve the collection and analysis of data to measure the value and impact of industries related to water-based economies in the United States.
- Establishes the Ron Dellums Memorial Fellowship to expand minority participation in STEM fields in the Department of Defense.
- Authorizes $131.7 million for HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions to help expand research efforts at HBCUs and MSIs.
- Modifies the selection process for Port Infrastructure Development Program assistance to allow the Secretary of Transportation to consider, for a noncontiguous State or territory:
- the geographic isolation of the State or territory
- the economic dependence of the State or territory on the proposed project.
“This bill represents months of hard work and compromises with colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers of Congress. This bill must now be taken up and passed by the Senate before it gets to the President’s desk for signature into law.”
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