Kaine Files Amendments to National Defense Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), filed amendments to the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act, which the Senate is expected to take up on the floor next week. Kaine’s amendments include his bipartisan bill to prevent any U.S. President from leaving the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and his bipartisan bill to repeal the 1991 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMFs) against Iraq. As a member of SASC, Kaine helped write the base text of the FY24 NDAA and secured provisions in the bill to benefit Virginia’s servicemembers and defense community, including reforms to improve servicemembers’ access to mental health care and support for Virginia’s shipbuilding industry.
“As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a senator from one of the most military connected states, I’m focused on ensuring the national defense bill is the best it can be to support our servicemembers and national security. That’s why I filed amendments, including my bipartisan bills to reaffirm our rock-solid commitment to NATO, formally end the Gulf and Iraq Wars, strengthen security in the Caribbean region, reduce military spouse unemployment, improve water infrastructure by NASA Wallops, and help ensure that federal workers—including key national security personnel—are hired based on their qualifications, not politics,” said Kaine. “I’ve long advocated for a robust floor debate on NDAA, and I’m glad that the Senate will take the time this year to debate a bill as important to our national security as this one.”
A full list of the amendments Kaine filed are below:
- NATO: To prevent any President of the United States from withdrawing from NATO without Senate approval or an Act of Congress. Kaine introduced this bill with Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) this week.
- Repeal of 1991 and 2002 AUMFs: To repeal the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs against Iraq, formally end the Gulf and Iraq wars, and reassert Congress’ Constitutional role in deciding whether and when to send our servicemembers into harm’s way. The Senate passed Kaine’s bill with Senator Todd Young (R-IN) in March 2023.
- Caribbean Basin Security Authorization Act: To boost support for the Caribbean region through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), which improves security cooperation, combats drug trafficking, strengthens the rule of law, and increases disaster resilience. Kaine, Chair of the SFRC Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, introduced this bill with Rubio, and it passed out of SFRC in May 2023. Promoting stability and cooperation in the Caribbean strengthens U.S. national security.
- NASA Chincoteague: To provide NASA with the authority to reimburse the Town of Chincoteague, Virginia so it can relocate water wells to an area without PFAS contamination. Some of Chincoteague’s wells are located on NASA property and have been contaminated by PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which have been linked to increased risk of cancers and other adverse health effects. While the well water is being treated to remove the harmful chemicals, this process creates unnecessary burdens and costs for both NASA and the Town of Chincoteague. Moving the wells would be a critical step to remove these burdens and help improve water infrastructure for all in the area.
- Military Service Academies: To increase the number of students from Washington, D.C. who can be nominated and appointed to military service academies, giving young residents of D.C. the same opportunity to pursue military service careers that residents of the 50 states have. Each Member of Congress is allowed to appoint five applicants per academy but because D.C. has no senators, it is currently deprived of the ten appointments per academy that the other 50 states have.
- Bolstering Alliances: To advance and strengthen the Australia-U.K.-U.S. defense agreement, also known as “AUKUS.” The agreement deepens our relationships and counters Chinese aggression in the South China Sea through the transfer of nuclear-powered, conventionally-armed submarines to Australia and technological collaboration with the UK and Australia. Because a significant portion of Virginia-class submarines are built in Hampton Roads, these provisions create opportunity for further job creation and economic growth in Hampton Roads.
- Military Spouse Hiring Act: To amend the tax code to incentivize businesses to hire military spouses. Military spouses consistently experience unemployment rates substantially higher than the national rate. According to a survey by Blue Star Families, military spouse employment is the top issue impacting active-duty families, and the top contributor to financial stress among military families. Kaine introduced his bipartisan bill in March 2023 with Senator John Boozman (R-AR).
- Saving the Civil Service Act: To protect the merit-based federal workforce system by preventing any position in the federal civil service from being reclassified outside of merit system principles without the express consent of Congress. This bill would secure the civil service and protect tens of thousands of federal employees, including key national security personnel, from losing job protections and due process rights. Kaine introduced this bill with Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Representative Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11) in February 2023.