WASHINGTON, DC: Today, Congresswoman Jen Kiggans (VA-02) released the following statement after the fiscal year 2024 (FY24) National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed the House.
“I came to Congress to ensure our military remains the best in the world,” said Congresswoman Kiggans. “At a time when our nation is facing unprecedented threats from our adversaries, the FY24 National Defense Authorization Act does just that. This critical legislation refocuses our nation’s efforts on advancing military readiness and quality-of-life, which enables our men and women in uniform to be ready to fight tonight.”
“I’m incredibly proud to have secured several wins in this year’s NDAA that will directly benefit the servicemembers and military families in Hampton Roads,” continued Congresswoman Kiggans. “The provisions I wrote in this bill will positively impact our servicemembers’ quality-of-life, increase access to mental healthcare, and explore improvements to our nation’s shipbuilding and ship repair capabilities. As a third-generation veteran, military spouse, and mother to children who serve, I will always be the loudest voice for our military men and women in Congress!”
After passage of the bill, Congresswoman Kiggans spoke to press alongside her fellow Navy veteran, Congressman Nick LaLota (NY-01), and members of Republican Leadership. You can watch her remarks here.
“Since day one, Congresswoman Jen Kiggans has fought to improve the quality of life for our servicemembers and their families,” Chairman Mike Rogers (AL-03) said. “She is a proven leader who has worked tirelessly to ensure the FY24 NDAA boosts our national defense and puts our servicemembers first.”
Importantly, the FY24 NDAA includes several provisions of the Congresswoman’s Sailor Standard of Care Act, which will:
- Require the Navy to construct and manage a dashboard to track quality of life programs and their utilization rate. The quality-of-life issues tracked by this dashboard include childcare, healthcare, education, housing, and spouse employment.
- Examine reimbursement rates for mental healthcare providers under TRICARE, the number of current and projected mental healthcare providers under TRICARE, and assess what, if any, additional authorities and resources are needed to effectively provide timely access to mental healthcare.
- Require the Secretary of the Navy to provide a briefing to the committee on the average number of days it takes for the Department of the Navy to separate with limited duty sailors after it is determined the sailors are to be medically separated.
- Require the Secretary of the Navy to brief the House Armed Services Committee on its recommended standard operating procedures for responding to multiple suicides.
- Require the secretary of the Navy to provide the committee with a briefing on the feasibility of providing additional mental health resources to units with more than 15 limited duty sailors and on the feasibility of mandatory mental health screenings for limited duty sailors.
Additionally, the bill:
- Authorizes $886.3 billion for America’s defense programs;
- Supports a 5.2% increase in servicemember basic pay, the largest in over 20 years;
- Rejects the Biden Administration’s efforts to reduce the size of our Navy;
- Protects three marine amphibious warships;
- Establishes a grant program to expand capacity at private shipyards building Navy ships;
- Supports additional investments in shipyard infrastructure and recapitalization efforts;
- Prohibits the decommissioning of five battle force ships with years of service life remaining;
- Requires DoD to report to Congress on foreign control and influence over the supply chain for critical minerals, metals, supplies, services, and materials used for defense technologies;
- Extends the Pacific Deterrence Initiative to enhance U.S. deterrence and defense posture in the Indo-Pacific region while funding the initiative at $9.7 billion, an increase of $600 million over Biden’s budget request;
- Accelerates the deployment of advanced radars to track high-altitude balloons and other CCP threats to our homeland;
- Authorizes over $240 million to reduce servicemember out-of-pocket housing expenses;
- Authorizes $27 million over the budget request for new family housing;
- Authorizes $177.8 million over the budget request to renovate and build new barracks;
- Authorizes an additional berthing barge to provide a safe and healthy housing alternative for Navy servicemembers during dry dock availabilities, and;
- Authorizes $113 million over the budget request for the construction of new childcare centers.