75.1 F
72.5 F
72 F
73.1 F

U.S. House advances 2025 NDAA with focus on ‘Quality of Life Improvement’

On Friday, H.R. 8070, the Service Member Quality of Life Improvement and National Defense Authorization Act for FY25, passed the U.S. House of Representatives largely along party lines. The $883.7 billion NDAA passed in a 217 to 199 vote. Six Democrats voted for the bill, while three Republicans voted in opposition.

Congressman Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) released a statement after voting for the legislation.

“Joe Biden’s failed leadership has emboldened our adversaries and made the world a more dangerous place,” said Rep. Palmer. “Because of this, we must ensure our military is equipped to defend our nation. We ensure our military is prepared by fully funding our nuclear deterrent and eliminating harmful DEI policies which hurt recruitment. Not only should we ensure our military is equipped, but those protecting our freedoms on the front line should be taken care of when they return home. The Service Member Quality of Life Improvement and National Defense Authorization Act for FY25 provides a 19.5 percent pay raise for junior enlisted and a 4.5 percent pay raise for service members across the board. In addition to this bill increasing quality of life, it also takes a large step towards protecting life by prohibiting the Secretary of Defense from using taxpayer funds to pay for abortion expenses.”

RELATED: Dale Strong condemns Biden for objecting to military pay raise

“We must ensure that our servicemembers can care for their families despite Biden’s skyrocketing inflation,” said Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise). “This legislation prioritizes service members’ quality of life and a strong national defense to counter increasing threats to our freedom, while also rejecting Biden’s radical policies such as abortion travel funding, critical race theory, and drag queen story hour on our military bases.”

“This year’s NDAA is laser-focused on supporting our service members and ensuring they have what they need to keep our country safe,” said Congressman Dale Strong (R-Madison). “Once again, the NDAA will make a positive and direct impact to support the crucial work done here in North Alabama. This year’s defense bill emphasizes improving the quality of life for service members and their families and also focuses on restoring military lethality and deterrence of our adversaries.”

“No service member should have to decide between serving their country or providing for their family,” said Strong. “We must do better for the men and women who choose to fight for our country, especially our junior enlisted.”

House passage of the NDAA is a huge legislative win for Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Saks), who Chairs the House Armed Services Committee – the committee tasked with preparing the House version of the NDAA.

RELATED: Rep. Mike Rogers: 20% raise for junior enlisted servicemembers included in 2025 NDAA

“There is no investment more important than the one we make in the men and women who serve in our All-Volunteer Force,” said Rogers. “We cannot kick the can down the road when it comes to providing for our servicemembers. Today, the House voted to increase pay for junior enlisted servicemembers by 19.5%, improve unaccompanied housing, expand servicemember access to childcare and healthcare, and support military spouses. Our servicemembers are the bedrock of our national security, strengthening our military starts by ensuring our servicemembers are taken care of.”

“The threats facing our nation are more complex and challenging than anything we’ve encountered before,” Rogers continued. “To ensure that we stay ahead of our adversaries, the FY25 NDAA keeps the continued modernization of our nuclear deterrent on track, invests in our undersea capabilities, boosts innovation, and supports the capabilities our warfighters need to succeed on any future battlefield. Our adversaries will only be deterred through strength and the FY25 NDAA ensures our military will continue to project that strength.”

According to Rep. Strong’s office H.R. 8070:

  • Authorizes millions of dollars in funding for military construction projects, including $159.7 million for five Alabama projects, with $88 million for Redstone Arsenal.
  • Provides junior enlisted with a 19.5% pay raise and a 4.5% pay raise for all service members, including 26,000 in Alabama.
  • Expands DoD programs that provide employment support to military spouses, including 4,400 in Alabama.
  • Mitigates childcare staffing shortages and eliminates fee assistance wait lists for eligible families seeking off-base childcare. 8,000 children of military families call Alabama home.
  • Expands access to specialty healthcare providers and supports efforts to employ additional mental health providers.
  • Authorizes Veteran Service Organizations to participate in the Transition Assistance Program.
  • Modifies portions of the DoD’s milestone process to reduce redundant and unnecessary documentation burdens.
  • Establishes a Cross Functional Team to implement a multi-year planning, budgeting, and execution process for the DoD.
  • Increases U.S. investment in domestic munition production capacity.
  • Strengthens Missile Defense and Space Capabilities.
  • Reverses the Biden administration’s decision to cease production of the Standard Missile 3 Block 1B interceptors, assembled at Redstone Arsenal.
  • Directs establishment of a third continental missile defense site to bolster defense of the United States homeland from long-range missile threats.
  • Continues support for investment in innovative commercial space solutions to increase capacity and resiliency in space.
  • Fully authorizes funding for the National Security Space Launch program. Fully authorizes funding for the deployment of National Guard troops to support border patrol activities at the U.S. Southwest Border.
  • Expands the DoD’s authority to assist law enforcement with the interdiction of narcotic traffickers.
  • Increases funding authorization for innovative technologies to deter the Chinese Communist Party, including hypersonics, micro nuclear reactors, and high-energy lasers.
  • Bars the DoD from providing security assistance to the Taliban.
  • Directs the DoD to assess pre-launch missile defeat capabilities to eliminate missile threats from Iran and its proxies.
  • Prohibits Chinese and Russian nationals from being admitted into sensitive nuclear facilities.

The NDAA passed the Committee on a bipartisan vote of 51 to 1; but on the House floor Republicans added a number of socially conservative amendments to the bill. These include not reimbursing servicemembers for travel expenses to get an abortion, refusing to pay for gender transition treatments for service members, ending DEI programs in the Defense Department, and allowing soldiers who were dismissed from the service for not getting the COVID vaccine to rejoin the armed forces.

While popular with Republicans, Democrats opposed the GOP amendments leading to most Democrats opposing the final version of the bill. The NDAA now goes to the Senate for their consideration.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email [email protected]

Don’t miss out!  Subscribe today to have Alabama’s leading headlines delivered to your inbox.