WASHINGTON – Today, Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) passed the annual bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes many of the priorities she has championed. The bill passed through the House of Representatives by a vote of 335-78.
“In this sweeping legislation, I was proud to author a number of bipartisan provisions that have garnered support in both the House and Senate,” said Houlahan. “As the sole Pennsylvanian on the Armed Services Committee, I take seriously my commitment to my community and Commonwealth to advocate on their behalves. This bill provides a pay raise for our servicemembers, improves military family housing, increases access to childcare, invests in research and development to address emerging threats, reasserts the importance of alliances and partnerships, funds smart investments to counter Chinese and Russian aggression and much more. The Senate and the President now have a responsibility to enact this bill into law – our servicemembers and their families deserve nothing less.”
Rep. Houlahan championed the following priorities during House consideration of the bill, which were included in the final, bipartisan compromise:
Require that any Federal law enforcement or military personnel deployed in support of Federal authorities during a civil disturbance, like the protests across the country this summer, be clearly and visibly identifiable by agency and name. (Section 1064)
Require TRICARE to cover Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT) Mammography. DBT, also known as “3D mammography” is rapidly becoming the standard of care for breast cancer screenings, and is covered by the VA, Medicaid and Medicare. Until now, TRICARE was a very visible outlier amongst insurers and as denying women critical preventative health care. (Section 701)
Improve and coordinate research into cleanup and replacement of PFAS chemicals, which have been found in the drinking water near many military bases and airports, and keeping Congress apprised of research in this area. (Section 332)
Require the National Space Council to assess the ability of the United States to effectively compete with China's space program and in the emerging commercial space economy and develop a strategy for the United States to maintain its position as the preeminent global space power. This amendment has also been introduced by Rep. Houlahan as the standalone STAR Act of 2020 (H.R.6388), a bipartisan effort to ensure that the United States is actively leading the world in space technology development with an eye towards protecting our national security. (Section 1614)
Create a Defense Department U.S.-Israel working group on operations and technology issues to facilitate greater cooperation between the United States and Israeli companies on defense acquisition and innovation. Rep. Houlahan is the Democratic lead on the United States-Israel Military Capability Act of 2020 (H.R. 7148), the standalone bill on this issue. (Section 1299M)
Require a Department of Defense (DOD) assessment of overseas cooperative security locations' force protection measures to ensure the safety of U.S. servicemembers, following the January 2020 terrorist attack on U.S. forces in Kenya, which killed three Americans. (Section 2882H)
$15M increase in funding to support the CDC-led study of the impact of PFAS on human health.
Allow the DOD to reimburse military spouses for expenses incurred for exam fees, continuing education courses and registration fees in order to work in the spouse’s profession at the next duty station. Previously, fees associated with required “continuing education courses” were not reimbursable. (Section 586)
Amend the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship Program, which is a workforce development program for military spouses that provides up to $4,000 of financial assistance for licenses, certifications or associate degrees to pursue an occupation or career field. Essentially, this amendment will allow for required continuing education courses to be reimbursed. (Section 586)
Ensure that DOD cannot convert civilian jobs into contractor jobs, cutting into our public service workforce and potentially costing the taxpayer more, without assessing the cost and impact on our servicemembers. (Section 912)
Exempt contracts awarded to certain small business concerns (8a, HUBZone, Women-owned, and service-disabled veteran-owned) from Category Management (CM) program and requires a plan to ensure small businesses can compete for these lucrative government contracts. (Section 871)
Implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Act of 2017. (Section 1210E)
Houlahan is an Air Force veteran, an engineer, a serial entrepreneur, an educator, and a nonprofit leader. She’s in her first term representing Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District, which encompasses Chester County and southern Berks County. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the House Small Business Committee.