For the better part of this year, Congress has been working to pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which sets the budget for the Department of Defense (DOD), nuclear weapons program of the Department of Energy, DOD elements of the intelligence community, and other defense activities in various departments. It also offers defense policy and restrictions as well as addressing administrative issues in the armed forces.
Although this year’s process was significantly delayed due to President Biden’s failure to put forth a budget proposal on time and House Democrats misplaced priorities, the House finally passed the NDAA last week. Thanks to the leadership of ranking member Mike Rogers and my colleagues on the committee, we were able to negotiate a defense budget that meets America’s defense needs, authorizes pay raises for our service members, and modernizes our military to keep up with threats from all over the globe.
This NDAA is a win for both our national security and for the people of South Alabama. From the day I was sworn in earlier this year, I made it a priority to ensure the NDAA is a win for our district. I’m proud to say I was successful in ensuring this budget authorizes over $700 million for two Expeditionary Fast Transport vessels (EPF) and two towing, salvage, and rescue ships to be built by Austal USA in Mobile. This is great news for our district, and it ensures we will continue playing a significant role in meeting our nation’s defense needs for years to come.
The process to get this NDAA through the House was not pretty, and we had several hurdles to overcome. Some Democrats tried to throw some bad provisions into the bill – things like a draft requirement for all women to register for the selective service, “red-flag” gun confiscation language – but we successfully fought back and passed a clean NDAA without any of these bad provisions.
While many of my Democrat colleagues have been wasting time pursuing a big government agenda to raise taxes and grow the federal government even larger, I am committed to pushing back on this overreach and focusing on the issues that matter. With ever-increasing threats from foes like Russia and China, it’s critical Congress keeps its eye on the ball and continues properly funding our armed forces so our men and women in uniform have the best technology and training equipment to keep us safe from threats around the globe.
Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.