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Rep. Chu Statement on National Defense Authorization Act

September 23, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C – Today, the House passed H.R 4350, the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2022. The FY22 NDAA authorizes a total of $739.5 billion for the Department of Defense and $28.2 billion for the Department of Energy.

This funding, which is $24 billion above President Biden’s Budget Request and $8 billion above total FY21 defensive funding, would include a 2.7% pay increase for servicemembers and establishes a $15 minimum wage for service and construction contracts. It also makes long-overdue changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice to improve responses to sexual assault, establishes a new Office of Countering Extremism to review prevalence of extremism in the Armed services, authorizes $500 million to help relocate at-risk Afghans, and ends the prohibition on the transfer of prisoners from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

Additionally, the NDAA includes two amendments introduced by Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27). The first would extend and expand the Department of Defense’s requirement to study and report on hazing in the ranks. The second calls on the Department of Defense to accept accountability for the mistaken August 29th drone strike in Kabul that killed at least ten civilians, including by providing restitution. It also includes an amendment co-led by Rep. Chu that includes the text of her bill, the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act, which would expand federal protections and access to recreation in Southern California. Rep. Chu voted for the NDAA and issued the following statement:

“Today, for the first time in twenty years, the House passed a National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that does not fund the war in Afghanistan. But while I am glad that we have wound down our presence there, our obligations are not over. That is why I’m pleased that this bill includes funding to meet our obligations to our Afghan partners and others who are at risk. While I am disappointed that this bill takes us further away from reining in unnecessary military spending, I am proud to have voted for an amendment to reduce that number. And I am particularly pleased that this bill includes my amendment to insure we do not neglect the survivors and loved ones of those who died in the tragic and erroneous drone strike on August 29 in Kabul. No amount of restitution can bring back those who were killed, but it is an important step in accepting our responsibility.

“This NDAA is also about doing right by our men and women in uniform. That includes a necessary pay raise and a lifting of the minimum wage for contractors. And it makes long overdue changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice to better respond to and protect victims of sexual assault. We also know that hazing continues to be a problem in our ranks, harming unit cohesion and morale, and leading to the deaths of too many, like my nephew Harry Lew. That is why I am proud that the House adopted my amendment to require more transparency and reporting on hazing in the military and what the Department of Defense is doing about it.

“As the Representative from the San Gabriel Valley, I want to  preserve the beautiful rivers, forests, and mountain trails of the San Gabriel Mountains, and make sure as many people as possible have the chance to visit, both today and for years in the future. As the Los Angeles area grows and our climate changes, these untouched wild lands and habitats could disappear. That is why I am proud that my amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will not only preserve this land for future generations, it will also create a National Recreation Area that will let even more Angelenos enjoy our mountains.”