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Kaine Statement On Final Passage Of Annual Defense Bill

Includes key Kaine priorities to boost servicemember pay, address military spouse unemployment, and support shipbuilding 

Bill now heads to President’s desk for signature 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement on final Senate passage of the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes a majority of Kaine’s military spouse employment provisions and many of his other priorities for Virginia, including a pay raise for servicemembers and support for shipbuilding. The legislation, which passed the House last week, now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

“Republicans and Democrats come together every single year to pass the annual defense bill to support our troops and keep the country safe. I’m proud that we delivered a defense bill that will give our troops a much-deserved raise, help military spouses get jobs, improve access to child care and counseling resources for military families, and make smart investments in Virginia’s shipbuilding industry. It also authorizes the Navy to pursue a block buy of aircraft carriers to be built in Newport News, helping more quickly achieve the goal of a 355-ship Navy. As one of the most militarily connected states, Virginians know how important these strategic investments are to keeping the country safe, and I hope President Trump will quickly sign it into law,” Kaine said.

The following list includes many of the programs and provisions Kaine advocated on behalf of during the markup process that were included in the final bill, which will make the nation safer and directly aid Virginia’s military families and defense industry:

Supports Servicemembers and Military Families: Funds a 2.6% pay raise for servicemembers and includes nearly every provision of Kaine’s bill, the Military Spouse Employment Act of 2018 and an important provision on child care from Kaine’s Jobs and Childcare for Military Families Act of 2018. The provisions expand hiring and career opportunities for military spouses, improve access to continuing education programs, help ensure military families can find affordable child care, expand transition and counseling resources, increase small business opportunities for military spouses, provide more opportunities for family wellness programs on military bases, and address the constant transfers and moves military families experience. You can find a full list of Kaine’s military spouse provisions included in the bill here.

Supports Shipbuilding: Authorizes block buy of aircraft carriers pending a certification by the Secretary of the Navy that it will save taxpayer dollars. It also includes $12.3 billion for Virginia shipbuilding priorities, including $7 billion for the Virginia-Class Submarine, $3 billion for the Ohio-Class Submarine, $1.6 billion for the Ford-Class Carrier and $449 million for carrier refueling and overhaul.

Recommitment to a 355 Ship Navy: Builds on the FY18 commitment to reaching a 355-ship Navy by evaluating opportunities to repair and extend the service life of existing ships, which could benefit the ship repair industry.

Builds on Kaine’s Work to Expand Access to Cyber Education in Virginia: For years, Kaine has led efforts through the NDAA to increase the number of cyber professionals in the country. This year, Kaine cosponsored an amendment to encourage the Secretary of Defense to establish new cyber institutes at schools with ROTC programs.

Authorizes Military Construction (MILCON): Authorizes approximately $175 million for 12 critical military construction projects throughout the Commonwealth at Fort Belvoir, Fort A.P. Hill, Dam Neck, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, and in Arlington, Quantico, and Portsmouth.

Freedman’s Village Gate: Allows Arlington County to memorialize the location of Freedman’s village, a former slave community, by naming the newly constructed southern gate of Arlington National Cemetery, “Freedman’s Village Gate.”

No BRAC Round: Rejects DoD proposals for a new Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round.