McEachin Votes to Pass Historic 60th Consecutive NDAA

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today voted to pass H.R. 6395, the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021, which passed the House by a vote of 295 to 125 and authorizes $732 billion in national defense spending.

“During a time of significant uncertainty, this bipartisan NDAA advances critical support for our servicemembers, improves our nation’s readiness and reasserts the importance of our international alliances and partnerships,” said Congressman McEachin. “This defense bill, which includes a number of provisions that are of critical importance to the Commonwealth of Virginia, promotes a more inclusive military, while responding to our climate crisis and ensuring we will not be caught off-guard by future pandemics like COVID-19. I am proud to stand with my colleagues as we continue the important work of taking care of those in uniform, while promoting a strong national defense.”

Background:

The FY21 NDAA creates a Pandemic Preparedness and Resilience National Security Fund, directing $1 billion to efforts to proactively increase the country’s ability to prepare for and respond to future pandemics. 

The bill requires the Department of Defense to identify, report on a process, and change the names of all military bases and infrastructure named for individuals who served in the Confederacy within one year and prohibits the public display of the Confederate flag on Department of Defense installations.  

The FY21 NDAA has strong provisions to take care of our troops and our military families – authorizing support for a 3.0 percent pay raise, authorizing increased funding to clean up contamination of drinking water on our military bases by PFAS chemicals, continuing to invest in improving the oversight and management of housing for military personnel and their families, making improvements to sexual assault prevention and response programs, and developing several key programs to promote and enhance diversity and inclusion programs in our military.

The bill establishes Chief Diversity Officer reporting directly to the Secretary of Defense as well as establishing a Chief Diversity Officer in each of the military services reporting directly to the Secretary of that service, to include the Coast Guard. The bill also requires the Secretary of Defense to establish a Diversity and Inclusion Council to help develop a strategy to be included in the National Defense Strategy to increase diversity in the military mirroring the US population.

The bill makes corrections to the paid parental leave benefit provided through the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act to ensure that the FAA, Department of Veterans Affairs, and certain other civilian employees inadvertently omitted from the legislation receive the paid parental leave benefit.

The bill also honors America’s values in many ways, including prohibiting use of DOD funds to provide logistical support to the Saudi-led coalition for strikes in Yemen, limiting the funding under the national emergency military construction authority to prevent its misuse on the President’s wasteful border wall, and not containing any restrictions on transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay.

In addition, the measure also includes several provisions to confront the climate crisis.

Finally, the bill does not authorize an additional Base Realignment and Cloture (BRAC) round in FY 2021.

A summary of the provisions in the FY21 NDAA is available here.