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Carl: Fighting for a strong national defense

Every year, the president lays out a budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year. I wrote earlier this year how disappointed I was in President Biden’s budget proposal for the upcoming year because it increased all types of social spending, while allowing our defense budget to fall well behind the rate of inflation. While the president’s budget proposal is symbolic since Congress controls the purse strings, it shows us all where his top priorities are.

I’m proud to say my colleagues and I on the House Armed Services Committee have been working hard for the past few months to put together a defense budget that is bold, strategic, has long-term vision, and the resources to meet our needs. About two weeks ago, the House Armed Services Committee passed the fiscal year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, which is our annual bill authorizing defense spending for the next year. This includes everything from buying/replacing outdated military equipment to paying our servicemembers.

Thanks to the leadership of ranking member Mike Rogers (R-Saks) and so many of my colleagues, we are bringing the FY2023 NDAA to the House floor this week for a full vote. While this is not the final step, Congress is doing its job to keep this legislation moving and keep our defense priorities in check. There are so many great things in this bill, including a $37 billion increase in national defense spending (a much-needed reversal in president Biden’s reckless cuts to defense spending). This bill would also save the taxpayers money in the long run by cutting waste/abuse and creating additional accountability for how your tax dollars are spent.

One of the biggest priorities we were able to secure in the bill is a pay raise and bonuses for enlisted service members to help them keep up with rising costs of basic goods and services due to Bidenflation. Another important win we secured is a Servicemember Parents’ Bill of Rights. This will ensure parents of children attending Department of Defense schools can review curriculum, instructional materials, and disciplinary policies. It will also give parents regular access to teachers and administrators, while also protecting servicemember children from medical examinations and screenings without parental consent.

I am thrilled that we were able to put together a package that fully funds our armed forces, takes care of our service members and their families, includes accountability for how taxpayer dollars are spent and provides necessary funding to ensure our men and women in uniform have the best tools and equipment to keep our country safe from all threats. I look forward to seeing this bill continue through the legislative process and ultimately get signed into law later this year.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

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