Today, U.S. Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) helped pass the conference report for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the final version of the overarching annual defense policy bill as agreed upon between the House and the Senate. The bill, which Rep. Peters helped negotiate as a selected member of the NDAA conference committee, authorizes $619 billion in defense spending, provides a much-needed fix for the California National Guard bonus crisis, and includes a number of pieces of legislation authored by Rep. Peters. The Senate is expected to pass it next week and the President has indicated that he will sign it into law.
When the legislation was first considered in the House Armed Services Committee in April, Rep. Peters worked to pass three amendments and was credited with defeating another amendment that would have prevented the Department of Defense from planning for the threat of climate change. NDAA was then voted on the House floor in May, where Rep. Peters passed three more amendments, including one to increase the number of veterans employed to build military construction projects. He also furthered his role as a leading defense energy security advocate. Finally, Rep. Peters was named to the bipartisan conference committeethat negotiates differences between the House and Senate versions of NDAA. In conference, he fought for San Diego’s defense priorities and to remove discriminatory language; he signed the report approved by the House today.
“Finalizing America’s defense policy is the most important thing Congress does every year,” said Rep. Scott Peters. “In an era of new and dynamic threats, we must provide for a tough, smart national defense to defeat our enemies abroad and keep Americans safe at home. This bill meets that challenge by giving our servicemembers the support and advanced technology they need to carry out their missions, allocating resources to address readiness shortfalls, and allowing our military leaders to prepare for every possible threat – including changes in our climate.”
The bill also directs the Department of Defense to waive the recoupment of bonuses from CA National Guard members who accepted them unknowingly, and provides authority to repay veterans who were wronged. This makes good on Rep. Peters’ commitment in October to work across the aisle and use NDAA as a vehicle to fix the bonus crisis.
Rep. Peters continued, “The burden of this fraud and mismanagement never should have fallen on our servicemembers who bravely signed up to serve our country more than a decade ago. This will fix that mistake and begin to make our veterans and their families whole again.”
The bill authorizes almost $280 million for military construction projects at Naval Base Coronado and Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, as well as over $154 million for military construction projects at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. Congressman Peters, co-chair of the bipartisan Special Operations Forces Caucus, noted that those projects included more than $94 million for the Coastal Campus expansion project to rebuild and improve training facilities for Coronado’s Navy SEALs.
A provision negotiated by Rep. Peters to facilitate a necessary land exchange between the Port of San Diego and the U.S. Navy regarding the Navy Broadway Complex was included in the bill passed today, as was Rep. Peters’ amendment, previously passed in committee, expressing support for DoD programs that provide specialized camps for grieving military children.