Durbin Statement on Senate Passage of NDAA
Legislation includes a number of Durbin-led measures & authorizations for military construction projects in Illinois
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, today released the following statement after voting for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes an authorization of nearly $858 billion for national defense, including authorizations for military construction projects in Illinois and a 4.6 percent pay raise for service members and the Department of Defense (DoD) civilian workforce:
“The Senate’s passage of the NDAA shows that members on both sides of the aisle are committed to a strong national defense and to the protection of our women and men in uniform. I’m particularly pleased to see significant investments in Illinois and our seasoned service members.
“While I am disappointed the COVID-19 vaccine mandate to protect our service members was rescinded in the final text, there are many important provisions in this legislation—including funding to help our Ukrainian allies fight back against Putin’s unjust war and modernize our military installations, as well as funding to study the impacts of PFAS contamination on military bases and expand mental health services.”
Durbin-led measures included in the FY23 NDAA are:
- Military Construction Projects in Illinois. The bill includes an authorization of $52 million to support military housing at Scott Air Force Base in St. Clair County, Illinois; an authorization of $3.5 million in planning and design funds for a new Army Guard Readiness Center in Chicago, Illinois; and an authorization of $2.5 million in planning and design funds for a new hangar for the Illinois Air National Guard.
- Military Aircraft. The bill prohibits the divestment of C-40 aircraft, which would have impacted Scott Air Force Base. The legislation also authorizes funding for eight F-18/E/F aircraft for the Navy, produced by Boeing in St. Louis, Missouri, and includes a provision supporting the increased use of safe and cost-effective used parts to maintain Air Force and Navy Aircraft, which will help Illinois-based companies that provide aviation services like AAR Corp in Wood Dale, Illinois.
- Mental Health Services. The bill includes Durbin’s Post-Disaster Mental Health Response Act, which will expand federal funding available for mental health services after FEMA emergency declarations.
- Ukraine. The bill includes the prohibition of U.S. government funding for Ukrainian annexation, derived from Durbin’s amendment, in light of Russia’s illegal ongoing war in Ukraine. It also authorizes $800 million for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, and an authorization for $2.7 billion for Army munition production and capacity expansion amid challenges faced by the defense industrial base, including to meet demand in support of Ukraine.
- PFAS. The bill includes a number of provisions addressing PFAS, including $20 million for continued Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) study of the human health impacts of PFAS in drinking water, funding for remediation, and reporting requirements on PFAS contamination at military bases.
- Electric Vehicles. The bill requires the DoD to consider the economic feasibility of electrical vehicles (EVs) as part of the Department’s non-tactical vehicle fleet modernization effort, develops plans to manage and dispose of batteries from EVs, and creates a pilot to assess the grid impacts of using such EVs.
- Provision that authorizes a pilot program to improve military tactical vehicle safety.
- Provision in support of the Baltic Security Initiative.
- Secured along with Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), a provision that broadens the Basic Needs Allowance to address military hunger to support service members.
- Provision imposing sanctions and other restrictions on Burma, following the systematic human rights abuses on the Rohingya people and the February 2021 coup by the military regime. The provision is derived from the Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act, which Durbin co-sponsored.
- Provision condemning the detention of Russian opposition leader Vladimir Kara-Murza.
- Establishes an office within the DoD to serve as the focal point for matters related to civilian casualties and other forms of civilian harm resulting from military operations involving United States Armed Forces.
As Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Durbin helped secure a number of provisions that were in the jurisdiction of the Committee. These provisions include:
- Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act of 2021: The bill includes Durbin’s and Senators Robert Menendez’s (D-NJ) and Cory Booker’s (D-NJ) legislation that would protect judges’ sensitive personal information from being sold by commercial data brokers online, limit the posting of judges’ personal information on government websites, and set up a process overseen by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts to enable judges to request that other websites remove sensitive personal information when there is no legitimate public interest to publish such information.
- Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights: The bill also includes bipartisan legislation that creates an incentive to States to adopt a bill of rights for sexual assault survivors similar to provisions in federal law.
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