Two members of Congress highlighted the benefits to North Jersey of a defense bill President Donald Trump has threatened to veto.
The House of Representatives on Dec. 8 approved the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by a 335 to 78 vote. The NDAA sets policy on a wide range of areas for the Pentagon, including buying equipment for U.S. servicemen, soldiers’ pay and how best to address geopolitical threats.
A member of the House’s Armed Services Committee, Rep. Mikie Sherrill said the NDAA is a culmination of months of hard work and bipartisan compromise by both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees.
NDAA Helps North Jersey
“The NDAA contains key provisions that bolster our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, shore up our small businesses, and protect our country’s critical technological advantages,” said Sherrill, a Navy veteran. “The legislation includes many provisions that I fought for, including robust funding for projects at Picatinny Arsenal and advances in the Department of Defense’s environmental sustainability.”
Rep. Josh Gottheimer in voting yes for the defense bill promoted it as helping to better equip and prepare service members to carry out their mission and defend the U.S.
The bill is expected to shortly pass the Senate, where it will then head to President Trump’s desk. The President has repeatedly threatened to veto this year’s measure, first because of a provision to remove the names of Confederate generals from military bases and most recently because the NDAA does not repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects technology companies like Google, Twitter and Facebook from liability for what appears on their platforms.
The vote’s margin in the House would allow for a veto override, although some Republicans who approved of the bill indicated they would not vote “yes” on the bill if the President vetoed the measure.
A veto would reject measures that Sherrill and Gottheimer fought to include in the bill.
Sherrill, Gottheimer Provisions
For Gottheimer, key provisions he worked to assure of passage in the bill were directing the Secretaries of Defense and State to report to Congress on the use of social media by foreign terrorist organizations; providing quarantine lodging for the National Guard and Reserve; and urging the Department of Defense to ensure impacted military families are fully informed regarding water testing for lead or copper at Department of Defense Education Activity facilities on military bases.
Sherrill highlighted five amendments she was able to include in the NDAA, including extending the location adjustment to compensate for the increased building expense in Northern New Jersey, giving Picatinny Arsenal greater flexibility for construction projects; optimizing the approval process for wind energy projects near military installations; prioritizing public-private partnerships with the Department of Defense to bolster the fight against COVID-19; reauthorizing the National Oceanographic Partnership Program to strengthen the government’s ocean research; and the establishment of an interagency effort to develop a variety of products needed to meet the Department of Defense’s mission needs, including synthetic fuels, flame retardants, high-performance materials, and equipment to protect warfighters.
Additionally, Sherrill noted two bipartisan bills she introduced are part of the NDAA: the Body Armor for Females Modernization Act that requires each department of the U.S. Armed Forces to provide specified data and assessment concerning personal protection equipment and the establishment of the National AI Research Resource Task Force Act to develop a roadmap for a national artificial intelligence (AI) research resource.