Soto Legislation Passes in National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

November 15, 2017
Press Release
H.R. 2810 Defense Spending Bill Passes House, Includes Four Soto Amendments

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Conference Report to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018 yesterday, which includes four amendments authored and one co-sponsored by freshman Representative Darren Soto. With a vote of 356-70, H.R. 2810 authorizes close to $700 billion for the Department of Defense and defense-related programs, including additional funding for essential readiness of military troops.

“I am proud that our proposals passed in the Defense Bill, a testament of Congress coming together and prioritizing keeping Americans safe,” stated Rep. Soto. “In a time of increased threats, both at home and abroad, we must ensure our military is as strong as ever. This robust NDAA bill is a strategic investment that asserts the United States’ power in the world, while also strengthening our national defense.”    

The NDAA for FY18 includes funding for innovative defense projects that were secured by Rep. Soto, including:  

Bill Text Amendments:

  1. Space WeatherSection 1616: Directs the Secretary of Defense to coordinate efforts of space-based weather observations, analyses, and forecasts; providing alerts and warnings for weather phenomena that may affect defense operations.  
  2. Report on Developmental Testing and Evaluation within the Office of the Secretary of DefenseSection 932: Requires a report to Congress clarifying the distinct roles of operational testing, developmental testing, and systems engineering in performing oversight activities for simulation and training (programs made at the University of Central Florida). The provision would also clarify that the developmental test officials should have access to relevant program data to perform their oversight responsibilities. Assigning leadership development roles would lessen costly modifications and cost overruns for the deployment of new weapons systems.

Bill Report Amendments:

  1. Military decorations for veterans of WWII, Korean WarPage 830 of Report: The Report encourages the service secretaries to expedite the replacement of military decorations for service in WWII and the Korean War.
  2. Space Based Nuclear DetectionPage 1043 of Report: The Report directs the Secretary of Defense to provide a briefing to the congressional defense and intelligence committees on space-based nuclear detection. The briefing shall include a strategic plan to host the relevant payloads with the current and planned space platforms. The briefing shall also include a discussion on the current and planned national security requirements for space-based nuclear detection.

Co-sponsored Amendment

  1. Foreign Oil Spill AmendmentSection 3508: Provides additional resources for the Coast Guard’s retirement account and exposes foreign owners and operators of oil production facilities to liability for cleanup costs and damages from oil spills that threaten or cause damage in the United States. Rep. Soto is a lead Democrat co-sponsor of the amendment and the original bi-partisan bill H.R. 468, Foreign Spill Protection Act of 2017.

Click here for the full NDAA Conference Report for Fiscal Year 2018. The bill now heads to the Senate and is expected to pass and be signed into law.