Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today voted for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023, authorizing three Bath Iron Works-built Arleigh Burke destroyers. The defense bill requires the Department of Defense to study and reduce the use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), makes substantial investments in clean energy and climate change resiliency, and boosts U.S. support and assistance for the people of Ukraine and Afghanistan, among other key investments. The bill also includes a provision Pingree cosponsored which requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study pay disparities between federal trades workers at public shipyards and naval bases and their private sector counterparts.
“While strengthening our national security, this year’s defense bill addresses the urgent threat of climate change, guards against harmful forever chemicals, and will sustain jobs at Bath Iron Works for years to come,” Pingree said. “In order for our military to succeed, we must invest in the workers that make it operate, which is why I’m proud this bill not only supports the largest service member pay raise in decades but moves us closer to correcting unfair pay disparities between private sector and government trades workers. This legislation will also reduce the military’s use of PFAS by incentivizing the development of safer alternatives and providing resources to clean up forever chemical contamination on former military installations. This is a strong, bipartisan bill that will support Americans who work to defend our country, their families, and the security of our communities–now and for future generations.”
The NDAA is the annual bill which authorizes expenditures for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), while funding is provided through the Defense Appropriations bill. Congress has passed the NDAA for 61 consecutive years.
Highlights of the NDAA include:
Bath Iron Works
- Authorizes three Arleigh Burke-class destroyers for FY23.
- Authorizes $130 million in advance procurement for a third DDG-51 in FY24.
- Authorizes $250 million for shipyard infrastructure upgrades in the DDG program.
- Authorizes the Navy to enter into a new multiyear procurement contract for up to 15 DDGs.
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
- Fully authorizes the third increment for the Multi-Mission Dry Dock #1 Extension project at $503 million. Pingree also secured full funding for this project in the FY23 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations legislation, which is expected to come to the House floor for consideration in the coming weeks.
Climate and Energy Resiliency
- Creates Centers of Excellence for the development of clean energy technology.
- Creates a pilot program for electric vehicle (EV) charging to facilitate transition to EV military fleet.
- Requires a pilot program on sustainable aviation fuels.
- Requires DoD building codes to include a consideration of integrated solar roofing on new construction.
- Requires DoD to increase recycling advanced batteries to address rare and critical mineral shortages.
- Requires the DoD to send a list of essential uses for PFAS, and expands the list of non-essential items containing PFAS. Also requires the DoD to report on its progress in minimizing the use of certain non-essential PFOS and PFOA containing items.
- Requires the DoD to implement Comptroller General recommendations to set goals for the timely clean-up of formerly used defense sites that fall under the military munitions response program.
- Modifies a prize program created to incentivize private sector development of AFFF alternatives to include research on PFAS-free personal protective firefighting equipment.
Pay Disparity Amendment
- Directs GAO to investigate pay disparities between federal trades workers and their commercial industry counterparts, focusing specifically on public shipyard and naval bases.
- This includes evaluating the parity between federal wage schedules and the local prevailing wage rate for wage grade workers at public shipyards and in competitive job markets.
- GAO also must determine geographic wage areas, accuracy of surveys, and barriers preventing equal pay, and provide a full report on its findings.
Military Personnel and Families
- Authorizes a 4.6% pay increase for military and civilians and adds a 2.4% inflation bonus for those earning less than $45,000 per year.
- Builds on Uniform Code of Military Justice reforms in FY23 NDAA regarding military sexual assault and ensures military justice criminal litigators are properly resourced, manned, trained, and capable.
- Establishes a Victims Compensation Fund to provide support to victims of domestic violence and other interpersonal crimes.
- Provides increased funding to support Child Development Centers, barracks, and other quality of life facilities, and increases oversight of privatized military housing.
Europe and Russia
- Expresses strong support for US commitment to NATO as well as membership for Finland and Sweden.
- Fully funds the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI) at $4.6 billion, and additionally provides $1 billion for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.
- Requires all main operating bases in the US European Command to adopt installation energy plans to reduce reliance on Russian energy and sets a goal of eliminating DoD use of Russian energy entirely.
- Extends the authorization of the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program.
- Additionally extends the application deadline for SIVs and allows Afghans wounded during their service to the US government to apply for an SIV even if they haven’t met the one-year minimum employment threshold.
Other Notable Provisions
- Authorizes $100 billion in research funding including a significant increase for Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
- Provides and requires a $15 an hour minimum wage for all federal contractors.
- Eliminates TRICARE and VA copays for contraception.
Click here for a final text summary of the NDAA.