Rep. Peters Presides Over Defense Budget Vote, Helps Pass Critical DOD Support For San Diego Servicemembers
July 20, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) voted to pass the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021, which approves defense-related funding levels and sets policy for the coming year. Peters presided over a portion of the votes on the NDAA to underscore his commitment to our military men, women and families as well as the significance of the defense spending bill to the San Diego region.
“San Diego – a proud military town – plays a strategic role in our country’s national defense. With 143,000 active military personnel and their families based in the region, California’s 52nd Congressional district is home to seven military installations, and one-fifth of its economy is driven by defense,” said Rep. Peters. “The legislation passed today will further our national defense priorities, including a much-deserved pay increase for servicemembers, investments in San Diego-based military construction projects, and technology advancements that sustain America’s 21st Century fighting force.”
The bill included three key provisions led by Rep. Peters. First, it directs the U.S. Air Force to create a plan to more quickly replace the aging T-38 aircraft, a provision urged by a Point Loma family who lost their son in a training accident. It also helps reduce veteran homelessness by including Rep. Peters’ Veteran HOUSE Act of 2020, which expands eligibility for the HUD-VA Supportive Housing (VASH) voucher program to allow veterans with other-than-honorable discharges to access supportive housing benefits. Third, the bill incorporates language that would provide the Department of Defense (DOD) with new authorities to have non-profit institutions operate base museums to share the proud history of servicemembers and their achievements, such as the MCAS Miramar’s Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum.
“In December, my constituent, Lt. Travis Wilkie’s mother came to my office seeking answers about the tragic death of her son. Based on the facts provided to me by the family, I felt strongly that the Air Force training pilots should cease flying in the T-38s, which is why I advocated for the DOD to build a plan to more quickly transition from the T-38 to the T-7 for USAF pilot training,” Rep. Peters continued. “I hope the Wilkie family finds some comfort in knowing they are leading this important change to protect our young men and women who wish to serve our nation.”
Other San Diego priorities authorized by this NDAA are:
- A 3 percent pay raise for our military members
- Prohibits spending DOD funds on building a border wall
- New sexual assault prevention and response programs, reporting policy changes and coordinated care for survivors
- Authorizes $98.5 million for FY 2021 to replace Pier 6 at Naval Base San Diego
- $1 billion dedicated to preparing for and responding to pandemics
- Increases funding to address drinking water contamination by PFAS chemicals on our military bases
- New policies that help military bases and missions better adapt to factors related to climate change
- Increases transparency around DOD emission levels
- $18.3 billion for procurement of Navy aircrafts and $17.8 billion for Air Force aircrafts
- $22.3 billion for Navy shipbuilding
- Directs the DOD to change the names of all military bases with those related to the confederacy and prohibits public display of the confederate flag on installations
- New diversity requirements, including the establishment of a Chief Diversity officer and a Diversity and Inclusion Council, as well as direction to institute goals on increasing women and minority candidates in military service
The House and Senate will meet to negotiate differences between the House and Senate versions and develop final language for the NDAA. That final version will go before both chambers again, before being sent to the president. Rep. Peters has supported every NDAA since becoming a member of Congress and served as a conferee for last year’s Fiscal Year 2020 bill.