Two Soto Amendments Pass in Annual House Defense Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Conference Report to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021, which includes two amendments introduced by Rep. Darren Soto (FL-09). H.R. 6395 authorizes $732 billion in discretionary spending for our national defense and sets policy for defense-related activities for Fiscal Year 2021. This much-needed piece of legislation addresses the COVID-19 pandemic, promotes transparency, invests in military infrastructure and supports our service members.
“Our military represents the very best of America,” said Congressman Soto. “Every year, the NDAA brings us one step further in enhancing the national and economic security of the American people while providing unwavering support for our troops. The passage of my amendments will support technological advances impacting Central Florida and ensure the U.S. does not fall behind on research and development. Today and always, I will proudly support a strong national defense that honors our values, protects our citizens and strengthens our leadership in the world.”
The amendments introduced by Rep. Soto focus on technological innovation to advance military capabilities, including:
Bill Text Amendment:
- Microelectronic Amendment: Adds “advanced sensors manufacturing” to the items considered within the updated approach to ensuring the continued production of cutting-edge microelectronics for national security needs. This is key for the BRIDG facility in Florida’s 9th District.
Bill Report Amendment:
- Blockchain Technology Amendment: Enumerates the elements of an uncompleted briefing from the FY20 NDAA conference report on the potential use of distributed ledger technologies for defense purposes by the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering and adds an additional briefing requirement. The briefing includes an analysis of the research of adversarial countries, makes recommendations for additional research and development within the Department with cost estimates, as well as any other recommendations the Under Secretary deems appropriate of excellence within the Department for distributed ledger technologies.
The NDAA also:
- Authorizes hazardous duty pay for service members;
- Provides a 3 percent pay raise for our troops;
- Creates an independent commission to make binding recommendations on modifying or removing all names, symbols, displays, etc. that honor the Confederacy or any person who served voluntarily with the Confederacy;
- Ensures paid parental leave is extended to all federal employees;
- Addresses the shortage in military child care;
- Provides long-overdue benefits to Vietnam-era veterans exposed to Agent Orange;
- Requires improvements in military housing;
- Further protects military communities from PFAS;
- Constrains executive overreach relating to emergency construction authority and deployment of military personnel to the southern border;
- Ensures no backfill of the military construction funds taken for the President’s border wall; and
- Authorizes $8.4 billion in military construction projects to fortify critical infrastructure and base realignment and closure clean up.