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GOP House congressional delegation votes for defense bill

All six Republican members of the Alabama congressional delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The bill passed the full House Friday on a largely partisan vote of 219 to 210 and now goes to the Senate.

Alabama’s lone Democrat in Congress, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham), voted against the bill – the first time she’s voted against an NDAA.

According to a summary sheet by the House Armed Services Committee, the law authorizes $886 billion for national defense programs and includes a 5.2% pay increase for servicemembers.

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Saks), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, praised the passage of the bill he says will strengthen national security.

“The National Defense Authorization Act has been a critical part of our national security for over 60 years,” Rogers said in a statement. “The NDAA provides our warfighters with the resources and authorities they need to provide for the defense of our nation. This legislation is vital as our nation is faced with unprecedented threats from our adversaries.”

He also said the funding will benefit the Yellowhammer State.

“The FY24 NDAA also recognizes the critical role Alabama plays in our national defense and strengthens that role for years to come,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Dale Strong (R-Huntsville), who also sits on the House rmed Services Committee, said the bill will help deter any aggression from the Chinese Communist Party.

“The House version of the FY24 NDAA strengthens deterrence against U.S. adversaries like the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) through increasing funding for innovative technologies like AI and high energy lasers,” Strong said in a statement. “It also requires the Department of Defense (DoD) to mitigate land purchases made by CCP-backed entities near military bases. ”

Strong also highlighted how the bill will help secure the relocation of the Space Command Headquarters to Huntsville.

“We fought off two separate attempts to delay the permanent basing decision announcement of U.S. Space Command,” he said, “secured research and development funding authorizations that benefit small business and universities, have ensured the Department of Defense and the military services will stay on mission, addressed delays within the defense industrial base, and much more. We’re just getting started.”

U.S. Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) said this year’s NDAA is “one of the strongest defense bills in history.”

U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) said the bill is a victory of national security and for the state of Alabama.

“This legislation is not just a win for our military, but also for Alabamians,” Palmer said in a news release. “Space Command’s move to Alabama is long overdue and is the best option for the long-term success of the newest military branch. To ensure the administration stops playing politics with our national security, section 2866 prohibits funds for being used to build a headquarters for Space Command and cuts the travel budget for the Secretary of the Air Force in half until he submits a report to the congressional defense committees justifying the selection of a permanent location for the headquarters. It’s time to bring Space Command home to Huntsville.”

Sewell criticized the bill and said she did not take her vote lightly.

“I did not take this vote lightly,” she said. “I have proudly voted in favor of the annual defense bill every year since coming to Congress. But I cannot and will not support a bill that would rip basic health care away from our service members and make bigotry and discrimination a centerpiece of our defense policy.”

Sewell was referencing amendments to the law that would eliminate Pentagon diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, as well as prohibit the the Secretary of Defense from paying for or reimbursing expenses relating to abortion services.

The bill now goes to the Senate.

Yaffee is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts “The Yaffee Program” weekdays 9-11 a.m. on WVNN. You can follow him on Twitter @Yaffee

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