ROME, N.Y. – The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes millions of dollars in funding for local industries that support national security.
Congressman Anthony Brindisi, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, co-sponsored several pieces of legislation that would benefit local businesses.
“We secured five pieces of bipartisan legislation in this year’s NDAA to bring manufacturing jobs back home to the U.S. and expand mental health care for our men and women in uniform. America is home to the strongest military in the world, and our legislation will ensure they have the tools, resources, and intelligence they need to serve our country,” said Brindisi.
The NDAA also includes authorization of $30 million for drone research at Rome Laboratory, and enhanced protections for Defense Finance and Accounting Service workers in Rome.
“Keeping the American people safe is my top priority. From the vital research done at Rome Lab to the military helicopters manufactured in the Southern Tier, Upstate New York plays a major role in our national defense,” said Brindisi.
The bipartisan legislation sponsored by Brindisi is detailed below:
- Care and Readiness Enhancement (CARE) for Reservists Act: Allows members of the National Guard and Reserve to access VA Vet Centers for mental health screening and counseling, employment assessments, education training, and other services to help them return to civilian life.
- Seeding Rural Resilience Act: Addresses the suicide epidemic in rural farming communities by training USDA employees to recognize farmer mental health crises, establishing a national PSA on rural mental health, and developing best practices to address farmer mental health.
- Military Mental Health Stigma Reduction Act: Requires DoD to submit reports on its efforts to reduce the stigma of seeking mental health treatment for PTSD, suicidal thoughts, or other mental health conditions for servicemembers.
- Strengthening American Manufacturing Act: Requires DoD to report annually on its use of Domestic Non-Availability Determinations, which it uses to circumvent Buy American/Berry Amendment Requirements.
- South China Sea Freedom of Navigation Act: Updates the existing Freedom of Navigation Operations report to include U.S. overflight operations, and a description of each excessive Chinese territorial claim in order to highlight successes of the U.S. military.
In addition to the bills above, measures to support upstate businesses were also included, such as:
- Additional funding to support manufacturing projects and jobs at Lockheed Martin in the Southern Tier and Raytheon in Rome.
- Amendment to ensure the Air Force cannot transfer any Air National Guard personnel or assets until it submits a plan for establishing a reserve component of the Space Force. This will protect the 222nd Command and Control Squadron in Rome and ensure they will continue to be included in military space operations.
- Secured $88 million in funding for an additional High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance (HELIOS) system, which will defend American naval vessels against drones, small boats and cruise missiles. Parts of the system will be manufactured by Lockheed Martin in Owego, N.Y.