WASHINGTON – Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee and conferee on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20 NDAA), released this statement on the conference report.
“After months of negotiation, I am proud to sign a bipartisan conference report today. A bill that started with unreasonable, partisan riders, is now a piece of legislation that I believe does right by our men and women in uniform and provides sound, strong defense policy for the next year. As a conferee, I am extremely happy with the product we signed today as it will give our armed forces the tools and resources they need to deter our adversaries, support our allies, and respond to threats around the globe.
“As the Ranking Member of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, I am proud to see several provisions our subcommittee championed in the final report. It includes a national requirement that the United States maintain 11 aircraft carriers, provides funding for the midlife refueling of the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), reauthorizes the Maritime Security Fleet, and supports the Navy’s revised plan to procure 10 Virginia-class attack submarines. The FY20 NDAA further commits to rebuilding our fleet to 355 ships by authorizing the construction of three Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, one new frigate, two additional amphibious ships, two fleet oilers, one large unmanned surface vessel, and two medium unmanned service vessels. The conference report also fully funds the critical B-21 Raider bomber program as well as the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine program. Finally, it includes the creation and authorization of the Cable Ship Security Program - which will allow the United States to pay an annual stipend to U.S. flagged ships to provide immediate assistance should the cables that physically and digitally connect us to the rest of the world be damaged, destroyed, or tampered with by those who wish to do us harm.
“Outside the seapower portfolio, the conference report includes several other provisions I support such as a 3.1% pay raise for our servicemembers, the requirement of 12 weeks of paid parental leave for all federal employees, the repeal of the “Widows’ Tax,” and the establishment of the U.S. Space Force in Title 10 as a separate armed service. The report contains important improvements from the House-passed FY20 NDAA; specifically, it provides a topline of $743 billion, a funding level much closer to the DoD’s budget request, allows the DoD to deploy low-yield nuclear weapons to close potential deterrence gap, and does not impede border wall construction.
“For 58 years, this piece of bipartisan legislation has been signed into law as it is what is necessary to support our troops and set the defense policy for our nation. I’m glad to see that tradition is continuing and I look forward to voting in favor of the report this week.”
Congressman Rob Wittman represents the 1st District of Virginia. He serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Armed Services Committee, where he serves as the ranking member of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.