Kiggans Scores Wins in Congress’ Defense Package

Jun 22, 2023
Armed Forces
Press

WASHINGTON, DC: Today, Congresswoman Jen Kiggans (VA-02) announced she sponsored and cosponsored several important amendments that were included in the fiscal year 2024 (FY24) National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) markup, which passed the House Armed Service Committee in the early hours of June 22, 2023: 

Encouraging Active Lifestyles for TRICARE For Life Beneficiaries (SPONSORED) 

Congresswoman Kiggans’ amendment directs the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs to provide a report on the feasibility of expanding TRICARE for Life to include a benefit for the SilverSneakers Program, mimicking the existing benefit included under Medicare Advantage. If enacted, this program would allow enrollees to access nearly 14,000 recreation centers, churches, senior communities, and other neighborhood locations across the nation. As a geriatric Nurse Practitioner, Congresswoman Kiggans knows how important an active lifestyle is to the health and wellbeing of older Americans. 

Improving the Navy’s Ship Repair Capacity (COSPONSORED) 

In a potential future conflict, the Department of the Navy may require an all-hands-on-deck approach to ship repair. Congressman Garamendi (CA-08) introduced this amendment which requires the Secretary of the Navy to report on the feasibility of recapitalizing the former Mare Island, California Naval Shipyard to handle surge capacity capabilities during a national emergency. Specifically, the report would examine the capabilities the facility could provide, the number and status of existing docks, the cost involved with recapitalizing the facility, and potential workforce challenges. 

Expanding Hallowed Ground (COSPONSORED) 

Congresswoman Lisa McClain’s (MI-09) amendment would require a report from the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of Veterans Affairs that proposes increasing the capacity of Arlington National Cemetery. Arlington National Cemetery is rapidly nearing its capacity and available space for burials is decreasing, which could prevent eligible veterans from receiving their full military burial honors. 

Increasing Access to Breast Cancer Screenings (COSPONSORED) 

Congressman Steven Horsford (NV-04) offered this amendment, which would direct the Secretary of Defense to provide a comprehensive briefing to the House Armed Services Committee detailing the number of breast cancer screenings billed to TRICARE and their cost to the Department of Defense. Additionally, it requires the report to include of out-of-pocket costs billed to the Department and patients who were screened outside of military treatment facilities. 

Bolstering Quality of Life for Servicemembers through Housing (SPONSORED) 

Congresswoman Kiggans’ amendment directs the Secretary of Defense to provide a report on the status of existing or planned privatized housing communities designated solely for unaccompanied servicemembers. All services are currently facing housing challenges for younger unaccompanied servicemembers, whether it be in quantity of housing available or quality of the housing they reside in. This amendment will push the Secretary of Defense to further study alternative solutions for unaccompanied housing that are being explored by various services in an effort to guide potential future enterprise-wide policy. 

These amendments are in addition to the five provisions of her Sailor Standard of Care Act which Congresswoman Kiggans successfully secured passage of in the FY24 NDAA. She introduced this important, bipartisan legislation in May to improve mental healthcare for the men and women serving in the United States Navy. You can read more about those provisions here

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