Byrne gets additional Austal ship added to FY21 NDAA, joins Brooks and Rogers in advancing key defense bill
All three of Alabama’s U.S. House of Representatives members who sit on the House Armed Services Committee voted to advance the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) out of committee on Wednesday night.
Rep. Bradley Byrne (AL-01) touted an amendment he added to the bill that authorizes $260 million for the construction of an additional Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) vessel at Austal USA’s plant in Mobile.
Rep. Mo Brooks (AL-05) sent out a statement alerting the public to negotiations on which he had worked that helped authorize millions in military aviation funding that would benefit Redstone Arsenal and the military community in North Alabama.
Rep. Mike Rogers (AL-03) stated that he was “pleased the bill included several provisions to support the further set up of the Space Force, as well as language to further the use of commercial satellite capabilities and to prioritize the hypersonic and ballistic missile tracking space sensor.”
All three congressmen expressed some reservations with the bill, which was controlled by the committee chairman, Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA).
The committee ultimately advanced the bill on a vote of 56-0.
Rogers was the most forthright in his frustrations, saying on Thursday, “This is not the bill I would have written… I have particular concerns about the shortsighted change to the national emergency authority. I shared my strong opposition with this provision because it would upend the progress President Trump has made to help secure our border.”
However, he added that he did “appreciate the hard work of Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Thornberry to get us to this place.”
On the subject of the additional ship authorized to be built at Austal, Byrne commented, “It is great news for Southwest Alabama and our entire nation that the committee accepted my amendment to authorize the construction of an additional EPF at the Austal shipyard in Mobile.”
“Passage of this amendment acknowledges the critical role the 4,000 men and women at Austal Mobile play in supporting our nation’s military readiness and moving us closer to our goal of a 355-ship fleet,” Byrne continued.
Brooks expressed pride in the work done by the committee, saying, “Despite COVID19 and shutdown disruption, the Armed Services Committee successfully produced an FY21 NDAA that strengthens national security.”
He also gave out a detailed list of 27 local policy requests he helped work into the bill, which can be viewed here.
Additionally, Brooks and Rogers both highlighted the 3% pay raise to be received by all American troops as something they were quite happy with in the bill.
The bill now goes to the full House for consideration, and the NDAA will need to work its way through the Senate process as well. Items authorized by a final NDAA signed into law by the president have to be separately funded through the appropriations process, as well.