Senate Passes Legislation to Strengthen National Defense with Provisions Championed by Senator Collins

The FY19 NDAA provides the largest pay increase for members of the armed forces in nearly a decade, includes provisions important to Maine

Washington, D.C. - By an overwhelming bipartisan majority of 85-10, the Senate passed legislation today that will strengthen our national defense and support our men and women in uniform.  U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, voted in favor of the bill.  The Senate and the House of Representatives must now reconcile their two versions of the bill before being sent to the President’s desk to be signed into law. 

The fiscal year (FY) 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) authorizes $707.7 billion for national defense so that our military has the resources it needs to confront threats around the globe.  The funding will increase training, accelerate the modernization efforts, bolster readiness, and support members of the armed forces.

 

“This legislation provides essential resources to our military so that it can continue to meet ongoing and emerging threats to our nation and keep the American people secure.  Moreover, it ensures that members of our armed forces have the training and equipment they need to carry out their missions as safely and effectively as possible,” said Senator Collins.  “I am pleased that this bill also supports our men and women in uniform through the largest pay increase in nearly a decade, and it includes provisions that are important to the thousands of Mainers who work in the defense industry.  The overwhelming support this legislation received is indicative of the bipartisan commitment to strengthening our national security.”

 

Senator Collins advocated for a number of provisions that are important to Maine, including:

 

Long-Term TDY Repeal.  Repeals the Department of Defense’s (DoD) misguided approach to its long-term temporary duty per diem policy.  Senator Collins has long worked to reverse this harmful policy, which negatively affects our shipyard workers and may increase long-term costs. 

 

PNSY Military Construction.  Provides full authorization for Dry Dock #1 modernization ($110 million), extending the portal crane rail ($39.7 million), and replacement of the DLA consolidated warehouse ($11.6 million) at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery.

 

DDG-51.  Authorizes the procurement of three Arleigh Burke-class (DDG-51) guided missile destroyers.

 

DDG-1000.  Authorizes $271 million for the Zumwalt-class (DDG-1000) guided missile destroyer program.

 

BRAC.  Prohibits conducting an additional BRAC round. 

 

Senator Collins also sponsored or cosponsored provisions which were included in the final FY19 NDAA adopted by the Senate, including those related to:

 

  • Cyber Defense.  Senator Collins introduced with Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) an amendment to strengthen North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) cyber defense and counter Russian cyber operations.  The amendment would require the Secretary of Defense to report to Congress on DoD’s efforts to enhance the U.S.’s leadership and collaboration with our NATO allies on deterring cyberattacks against NATO member states.

 

  • ZTE.  Senator Collins cosponsored an amendment introduced by Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) to restore penalties on ZTE for violating export controls and prohibit all U.S. government agencies from purchasing or leasing telecommunications equipment and/or services from Huawei, ZTE, or any subsidiaries or affiliates.  ZTE and Huawei are Chinese telecommunications companies which have violated U.S. sanctions by doing business with North Korea and Iran.

 

  • Yemen.  Senator Collins cosponsored a Senate resolution introduced by Senator Todd Young (R-IN) requiring the Secretary of State to make certain certifications that Saudi Arabia is taking steps to end the civil war in Yemen, alleviate the humanitarian crisis, and reduce the risk to civilians.  The provisions of this resolution were included in the NDAA.

 

  • Small Businesses.  Senator Collins cosponsored an amendment introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) to help small businesses that wish to transition to employee ownership by making it easier for them to access Small Business Administration loan programs.