Cortez Masto Statement on Senate Passage of 2022 Defense Bill
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) released the following statement after the Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022 on a bipartisan 88-11 vote. The defense bill includes a pay raise for service members, important reforms to the military justice system to support sexual assault survivors, and funding for military construction projects across Nevada that support U.S. national security. Critically, this bill includes Senator Cortez Masto’s legislation to leverage the National Guard and other military resources to help combat wildfires in Nevada and across the West.
“This year’s defense bill provides vital support for our service members and their families, from a much-needed pay raise to mental health and child care resources that will improve the quality of life for military members across the country,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “Nevada has a long history of supporting our national security, and I worked to include provisions to fund projects on Nevada’s military installations that will help improve our military readiness and keep our nation safe. Supporting the Nevadans who protect our country is a priority of mine, and I will always work across the aisle to get them and their families the resources they deserve.”
The Fiscal Year 2022 NDAA authorizes a topline of $768 billion for our military and national security programs at the Department of Defense and Department of Energy. The defense bill includes the following provisions to help service members in Nevada and across the country:
- A 2.7% pay raise for service members.
- 12 weeks of parental leave for all service members, including for foster and adoptive parents.
- Vital reforms to the military justice system to empower and protect survivors of sexual harassment and assault.
- Improvements to child care facilities on U.S. military bases.
- Provisions to bolster cybersecurity efforts, invest in mental health resources for our troops, combat climate change, and provide critical support for Israel, including funding for their Iron Dome defense system.
Senator Cortez Masto also helped author the following legislation in the final bill:
- Expanding the National Guard’s Authority to Fight Wildfires: The defense bill includes legislation to leverage additional military resources to fight wildfires in the West by reviewing and strengthening the National Guard’s authority to fight fires and to use remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) to track fire progress and perform search and rescue efforts.
- This legislation builds on Senator Cortez Masto’s legislation calling for a comprehensive approach to fighting the growing megafires in the region.
- Improving Military Nutrition on Base: The defense bill also includes bipartisan legislation written by Senator Cortez Masto to improve military nutrition on U.S. military bases in Nevada and across the country.
This legislation includes funding for important projects at Nevada’s military installations, including:
- $500 million for Army Depot capital improvements, including for projects at Hawthorne Army Depot.
- $80 million for modernization projects and to acquire new MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) at Creech Air Force Base.
- $25 million to support improvement projects and enhance safety protocols at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS).
Senator Cortez Masto also made sure no funding to restart the failed Yucca Mountain project would be included in this bill.
Senator Cortez Masto is a strong advocate for policies strengthening our national security and supporting service members and their families. She recently introduced bipartisan legislation to make it easier for veterans who have a service-related medical condition to get the benefits they are entitled to and has held listening sessions with military spouses about the challenges they face. The Senator has worked to pass legislation through previous years’ NDAAs to help veterans exposed to Agent Orange get the treatment they need and improve the management of privatized military housing to prioritize the needs of families. As part of last year’s defense bill, Senator Cortez Masto secured measures to improve mental health services for members of the National Guard and Reserves, support Navy members in getting the retirement benefits owed to them, and increase the transparency and efficiency of the Department of Defense’s TRICARE medical billing practices.
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