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Kaine's Legislation To Support Military Spouses Becomes Law

Defense bill includes key Kaine priorities to boost servicemember pay, address military spouse unemployment, and support shipbuilding  

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement on President Trump signing into law the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes a majority of Kaine’s military spouse employment provisions and many of Kaine’s other priorities for Virginia, including a pay raise for servicemembers and support for shipbuilding. Kaine was instrumental in shaping the legislation through the Armed Services Committee process and served as a conferee in the Senate.

“Just over a year ago I started meeting with military spouses, advocates, and the business community to discuss solutions for bringing down the high unemployment rate among military spouses. With final signature of the annual defense bill, the majority of my provisions to help military spouses get jobs have been signed into law. It shows a commitment from Congress and the executive branch that we understand the struggles military spouses and their families face in service to the nation and recognize that we can make their lives a little easier through expanded career opportunities, improved education, increased access to affordable child care, and additional counseling resources. I'm proud this bipartisan bill will support our troops with a much-deserved raise, make smart investments in Virginia’s shipbuilding industry, and help keep the country safe,” 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.