June 11, 2020

Kaine Secures Virginia Wins, Ban On Use Of Military Against Peaceful Protesters In 2021 Defense Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement after the Committee passed the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes numerous provisions he championed to benefit Virginia’s defense community, shipbuilding industry, and military families. The Committee also adopted Kaine’s amendment to prevent the use of military force against American citizens exercising their first amendment rights. The bill was reported out of committee on a bipartisan vote and will now advance to the full Senate for consideration.

“I’m proud that we reached an agreement on comprehensive legislation to help defend the nation and support our defenders. I hear often from our military leadership that it’s the individual that decides to join the military but it’s usually the family’s decision about whether to re-enlist and stay. So as part of an effort to make the military more family-friendly, I focused again this year on supporting military families by making it easier for them to find child care and mental health care. My other priority was something I would never have thought I needed to do until last week: prevent the use of military force against peaceful protesters. I was pleased my colleagues voted to include my amendment in the defense bill. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue.

“Lastly, I was glad we included an amendment to initiate a 3-year process to rename DOD facilities currently named after Confederates. For too many, these names are not merely reminders of a painful past but symbols of a troubled present. It’s time for a change.”

The following list includes many of the priorities Kaine advocated for during the markup process that were included in the final bill:

Prohibition On Use Of Military Force Against Peaceful Protesters: Includes, with strong bipartisan support, Kaine’s amendment to prevent the use of military funds or personnel against American citizens exercising their first amendment rights.

Support For Military Families: Includes legislation Senators Kaine and Blumenthal introduced to make child care more affordable and accessible for military families. The legislation also asks military services to identify additional benefits for child care employees in order to recruit and retain top talent. Also includes legislation the Senators introduced to help identify and remove barriers to maternal and postpartum mental health care in the military by requiring a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study of postpartum mental health conditions among servicemembers and military spouses, which will help ensure that appropriate support and resources are available to them. Also includes a Kaine provision that helps servicemembers’ children with disabilities continue to access free appropriate public education and receive support services.

Shipbuilding and Repair: Authorizes over $21 billion for shipbuilding, $1.4 billion above the President’s Budget. Funds Advance Procurement for a second Virginia-class submarine that was excluded from President Trump’s FY21 budget request. In February, Senator Kaine wrote to the Navy to express concerns over the proposed funding reductions for the Virginia-class submarine program in the budget request and called for full funding for two Virginia-class submarines. Virginia-class submarines are constructed, in part, at Newport News Shipbuilding. Also authorizes contract authority for up to two Columbia-class submarines and provides over $350 million to help submarine and surface ship suppliers. Also authorizes over $10 billion in ship maintenance and operations support.

DOD Panel on Confederate Names: Includes, with strong bipartisan support, an amendment sponsored by Senator Warren and co-sponsored by Senator Kaine to initiate a 3 year process to rename DOD facilities currently named after Confederates.

HBCU Support: Includes $5 million for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) to support national security technology missions by providing DOD with high-quality research and STEM training.

Military Housing Improvements: Includes $2 million to hire civil servants in the DOD offices which oversee issues like the Military Housing Privatization Initiative to implement military housing reforms.

Military Construction (MILCON) Funding: Authorizes $240 million for 7 military construction projects throughout the Commonwealth, including:

  1. $58 million for a Naval Special Warfare Group facility at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story
  2. $54.5 million for a Naval Special Warfare operations and command center at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story
  3. $30.4 million for a E-2D training facility at Naval Station Norfolk
  4. $17.7 million for a MH60 & CMV-22B corrosion control and paint facility at Naval Station Norfolk
  5. $19.5 million for an access control point gate and land acquisition at Joint Base Langley-Eustis
  6. $51 million for a training support facility at the Humphreys Engineer Center
  7. $9.4 million for a submarine logistics support facility at Naval Station Norfolk

Resiliency of Military Installations: Expands the FY20 NDAA authority to carry out military installation resilience projects outside the fence of military installations if it enhances the installation’s readiness.

Shipyard Infrastructure Briefing: Requires the Department of the Navy to provide six month updates on the shipyard infrastructure optimization plan to ensure the plan is being adequately supported and financed by the Department.