Senate Passes FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act with Provisions Championed by Senator Collins

The legislation includes funding for additional destroyers, a requirement for the military to purchase athletic footwear made in the USA, and the largest pay raise for troops in years

Washington, D.C. — With U.S. Senator Susan Collins’ strong advocacy, the Senate passed the fiscal year (FY) 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) today by an overwhelming bipartisan majority (92-7). Senator Collins is a senior member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.

The FY 2017 NDAA, which authorizes $619 billion for national defense and includes provisions supporting members of the armed services, is critically important to preserving our nation’s security. The House passed this legislation last week by a vote of 375 to 34, and it will now head to the President’s desk for his signature.

“This bill is vital to ensuring that our military has the critical resources and equipment necessary to accomplish national security missions around the world and meet the ever-expanding threats facing our nation. Moreover, this important legislation supports our men and women in uniform through the largest pay increase since 2010,” said Senator Collins. “This bill reflects a bipartisan commitment by members of both chambers of Congress to put aside their differences to keep the United States safe.”

The legislation includes $3.2 billion to authorize the procurement of two Arleigh Burke-class (DDG 51) destroyers and a $49.8 million increase for incremental funding for an additional FY 2016 destroyer. The FY 2017 NDAA also authorizes $271.8 million for the continuing construction of Zumwalt (DDG 1000) destroyers. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Collins secured $433 million in funding for these additional ships in the Defense Appropriations bill that passed the Committee unanimously in May 2016. The funding builds on the $1 billion Senator Collins secured toward the construction of an additional DDG 51 destroyer last year. At present, the Navy has 272 deployable battle force ships, well short of the goal set by the Navy’s 30-year shipbuilding plan, which calls for the United States to have 308 ships by fiscal year 2021.

In addition, the legislation includes a provision championed by Senators Collins and Angus King (I-ME) and Representative Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) that will require the Department of Defense to consider athletic footwear subject to the Berry Amendment by providing initial entry service members with American-made athlete shoes upon arrival at basic training. The provision is a significant victory for American jobs and respected American manufacturers like New Balance that will now be able to compete for contracts to provide domestically produced athletic footwear to military recruits.

The FY 2017 NDAA also provides vital assistance to our troops by authorizing a 2.1 percent pay raise—the largest since 2010—bolsters ground and aviation training, and increases the end strength of our armed forces.

Other key provisions that are important to Maine and our nation include:

  • Funding for projects at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, including $17.8 million for authorized for unaccompanied housing, $30.1 million for utility improvements, and $27 million to construct a replacement medical and dental clinic. Senator Collins successfully advocated for funding for these projects as a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

 

  • A provision permitting the Secretary of Defense to waive the flat-rate requirement for long-term temporary duty for military and civilian personnel if the secretary determines that the reduced rate per diem for meals and incidental expenses is insufficient to pay for actual travel expenses. Senator Collins has strongly pushed to ensure servicemembers and Department of Defense (DoD) civilians, including public shipyard workers, receive full reimbursement when traveling on long-term temporary duty.