House Passes Defense Bill with Comstock–Heller Service Member Job Training Amendment
Washington, DC – Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-VA) and Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) released the below statement after the House passed a conference report to accompany S. 2943, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 by a bipartisan vote of 375-34. The legislation included two of the Congresswoman’s amendments including one that she worked on with Senator Heller.
“This bipartisan NDAA includes an amendment that I worked on with Nevada Senator Dean Heller to support service members who are transitioning out of the military by providing better access to job training programs. These initiatives foster a smoother transition for outgoing members of our military as they look to build a new career,” said Congresswoman Barbara Comstock. “Our men and women in uniform have sacrificed much for us, and this is just one of the ways we can repay them for their service to our country. I look forward to seeing this provision go to work for our veterans. I have numerous businesses and groups in my district, including the Northern Virginia Technology Council’s Veteran Employment Initiative and this provision can assist them.”
“As a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I remain focused on ensuring our nation’s members of the military returning from duty receive the access to resources they need to transition smoothly into civilian life. This means allowing service members to participate in civilian job and employment training, including apprenticeships and internships. These important opportunities can be seized before members leave the military so they are able to be fully-trained and equipped with skillsets employers are seeking,” said Senator Dean Heller.
Congresswoman Comstock went on to say:
“Our troops make sacrifices daily so that we may remain safe, and this legislation gives them more certainty with the largest boost in pay in six years at 2.1 percent. For over 50 years, Congress has worked across the aisle to annually reauthorize this important legislation, ensuring a strong national security apparatus is ready to protect the homeland. A strong national defense is essential to preserving the freedoms that are the bedrock of our nation and this legislation actually goes above the administration’s request by $9 billion to provide critical funding to support those in our military as they fight for us and our freedoms.
“This important legislation also included another amendment I worked on that seeks to enhance protections for our children from increasingly easy to access opioids. This is a valuable tool in our ongoing battle against the opioid epidemic that is sweeping our nation and the numerous overdoses that have resulted from this scourge. The language directs the Department of Defense to analyze the feasibility of new prescription bottle lock mechanisms for opioid medications. Addiction often starts early in life with an adolescent taking a pill from medicine that was not prescribed for them, and this is designed to limit illicit access to prescribed medications.”
Background on NDAA:
- Boosts base funding by $9 billion over the administration’s request to close the readiness gap, rebuild our military, and ensure our troops have the tools necessary to carry out their missions.
- Provides our troops with the largest pay raise they’ve seen in six years at 2.1 percent.
- Reforms our acquisition process to spend taxpayer dollars more wisely and get our troops cutting-edge technology quickly and efficiently.
- Maintains longstanding provisions to prohibit transferring Guantanamo Bay detainees to American soil.
- Helps combat sexual assault in the military by building upon past efforts with an improved reporting process and mandatory sentences for certain offenses.