Larsen shapes and supports House Defense Bill

  • Thu Sep 30th, 2021 12:34pm
  • News
Rep. Rick Larsen.

Rep. Rick Larsen.

Submitted by Rep. Rick Larsen’s office.

On Sept. 23, Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) supported House passage of the bipartisan Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Larsen, a senior member of the Armed Services Committee (HASC), helped shape the final bill, securing provisions to support Northwest Washington’s servicemembers and military families, protect marine mammals, advance new and emerging technologies, ensure global security and invest in the future of work. The NDAA passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 316 to 113.

“This year’s National Defense Authorization Act makes the critical investments needed to support Washington’s servicemembers and their families, keep our region and our nation safe, protect the environment and maintain U.S. leadership in global security,” said Larsen. “I am thankful to my colleagues for including Washington’s Second District priorities in this year’s bill and look forward to bringing this important legislation over the finish line.”

Earlier this month, Larsen shepherded HASC-passage of the NDAA, which included necessary investments in Northwest Washington’s servicemembers, military families and local communities, as well as in initiatives to foster U.S. leadership in new and emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI).

Larsen secured or supported several key provisions in the NDAA:

• Supporting Northwest Washington’s Military Families, Communities

• Provides a 2.7% pay raise for all servicemembers

• Authorizes a total of $70 million in Impact Aid to schools that serve military students, like Oak Harbor Public Schools

• Makes historic changes in military code to combat sexual assault in the military

• Includes several provisions to mitigate the impact of jet noise on local communities, including $4 million for jet noise reduction research

• Establishes a $15 minimum wage for covered Department of Defense (DoD) service and construction contracts

Protecting Marine Mammals, Southern Resident Killer Whales

The Navy and Coast Guard recently convened a working group to enhance protection for marine mammals, including Southern resident killer whales.

Larsen successfully included his amendment to expand protections for marine mammals to include vessel speed mitigation measures, monitoring of underwater soundscapes and grants to support research and development into marine mammal monitoring technologies.

The amendment is supported by Natural Resources Defense Council, Oceana, Conservation Law Foundation, Ocean Conservation Research, International Fund for Animal Welfare, International Marine Mammal Project, Earth Island Institute, Oceanic Preservation Society, Seattle Aquarium, Benioff Ocean Initiative, Center for Biological Diversity, Sanctuary Education Advisory Specialists, Friends of the Earth, Animal Welfare Institute, Inland Ocean Coalition, Cetacean Society International, NY4WHALES, Earthjustice, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, Marine Mammal Alliance Nantucket, Environmental Investigation Agency, Shedd Aquarium, Mystic Aquarium, National Aquarium, Environmental Defense Center, Humane Society Legislative Fund and The Humane Society of the United States.

Advancing New and Emerging Technologies

Larsen supported Rep. Chrissy Houlahan’s amendment to implement several key recommendations from the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) to “advance the development of [AI], machine learning, and associated technologies to comprehensively address the national security and defense needs of the United States.”[1]

Ensuring Global Security

Larsen, a member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and a leading voice of assurance to NATO allies and international partners, supported Rep. Gerry Connolly’s bipartisan amendment affirming the United States’ commitment to promoting global health security and combatting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Larsen also supported several Rep. Linda Sánchez’s amendments to combat misinformation and disinformation, including funding the NATO Strategic Center of Excellence, and a briefing and report on how the DoD is working with the Center to improve NATO’s ability to counter misinformation.

The NDAA provides critical Congressional oversight of the ongoing situation in Afghanistan and authorizes $500 million to support relocation for Afghans who supported the U.S. military and their families.

Investing in the Future of Work

Larsen successfully included his amendment to enable DoD to continue hiring highly qualified candidates for domestic defense industrial base facilities and Major Range and Test Facilities, especially at remote and isolated installations.