Houlahan Delivers in National Defense Authorization Act, Passes Amendment to Include Women in Selective Service
Leads efforts to modernize our military Selective Service System, expand JROTC programs, strengthen our military readiness and more
Washington, September 2, 2021
WASHINGTON – Today, Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, announced dozens of legislative priorities she successfully incorporated into the FY22 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). At a critical time for our country, these key provisions will honor our service members and veterans and strengthen our national security. Houlahan’s work secured key improvements to recruit and retain women in our military, a priority for her as a former Air Force officer.
“The women and men who serve our country in uniform do so under difficult and oftentimes impossible circumstances – this year is no different,” said Houlahan. “It’s not enough to simply thank them for their service. In fact, the only way to truly thank them is to honor them through our actions and deeds, which is what our committee has done. This year’s overwhelmingly bipartisan NDAA bill is a timely and necessary reminder that there is no room for political games when it comes to the lives of our service members and veterans, their families, and all Americans who support them.
“As a veteran and the only Pennsylvanian on this committee, I was proud to include key priorities for our community and country on behalf of the countless service members and veterans I’ve spoken with across the Commonwealth. These legislative successes are only possible because of their input, and for that I am so grateful.”
The annual defense bill passed out of committee by a 57-2 vote. Notably during the 16-hour markup, Houlahan successfully advanced her historic, bipartisan amendment to include women in the Selective Service System. The amendment was adopted with strong bipartisan support.
“Simply put, as the Selective Service System is currently written it is unconstitutional and discriminates based on sex,” said Houlahan.
“This amendment clarifies that the purpose of the Selective Service is bigger than just drafting combat replacements. It ensures the Selective Service System is able to provide the DoD with the all sufficient numbers of personnel with the necessary skills in the event of a national mobilization – which means cyber, STEM, technical talent, among others. It’s not limited to the outdated use of those drafted for combat replacement roles.”
Read the full text of Houlahan's Selective Service System amendment here.
Earlier this year, Houlahan introduced the Military Moms Matter Act, which was also incorporated into the FY22 NDAA with overwhelming bipartisan agreement. This bill:
· Gives new moms 12 months postpartum to meet their physical fitness test requirements
· Expands postpartum depression and anxiety screening for new moms
· Expands the pilot program that pairs a newborn’s check-up and the mom’s postpartum follow up
· Increases maternity and paternity leave to 12 weeks for both primary and secondary caregivers
· Separates the 6 weeks of convalescent leave from paternity/maternity leave
· Offers physical therapy referrals for pelvic floor examinations and expands the number of military treatment facilities that offer pelvic health physical therapists and pelvic health rehabilitation services
Including her Selective Service amendment, Houlahan also championed numerous provisions that were adopted in Committee:
· Secures funding for retrofitting DOD facilities with private rooms for nursing mothers and required DOD to deliver a plan for that construction to Congress
· Expands the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) program to at least 6,000 units by 2031, a key step to recruiting more talented young people to the military. A Houlahan amendment also required DOD to assess ways to make access to ROTC scholarships more equitable, since some colleges and universities do not currently offer ROTC programs to their students. Houlahan went to college on an ROTC scholarship and is working to make sure that option is available to more students.
· Requires DOD to assess ways to offer a “drop-in” child care option for military spouses raising young children alone while their partners are deployed or away for extensive training. Access to affordable child care continues to be one of the main issues facing military families.
· Requires DOD and Department of Agriculture to work together to research the use of mushroom compost to clean up PFAS contamination in drinking water. Chester County is the mushroom capital of the nation, and there is existing research to show that this technology may be effective at remediating PFAS contamination.
· Pushes DOD to research and develop alternative technologies for the extraction, processing and recycling of critical minerals and rare earths that are in everything from cell phones to advanced weapons systems. Also required DOD to assess disruptions and vulnerabilities in our supply chains of tin, tantalum, tungsten and niobium – all critical minerals. Houlahan is working to lessen U.S. reliance on China and other adversaries for these essential materials.
· Addresses disparities in privatized military housing for enlisted servicemembers and officers. Houlahan grew up in military housing and is working to ensure all military families, regardless of rank, have access to high quality and safe housing. This provision also pushes military housing providers to comply with state and local housing codes and disclose problems and remediation to new tenants.
· Encourages DOD to look at incorporating alternate forms of therapy such as seminars, retreats, workshops, or outdoor recreational therapy events into current DOD suicide prevention treatment plans. DOD should also assess any evidence on the benefits or drawbacks of these treatments. While these are not a replacement for access to mental health care, they can be part of a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention.
Representative Houlahan has served on the House Armed Services Committee since coming to Congress in 2019. She is Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Cyber, Information Technologies, and Information Systems and the founder of the bipartisan Servicewomen and Women Veterans Caucus.
The full committee markup can be viewed here.
Houlahan is an Air Force veteran, an engineer, a serial entrepreneur, an educator and a nonprofit leader. She represents 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.