WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Katie Hill (D-Agua Dulce) and the United States House of Representatives voted Friday to pass the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes funding for major priorities in the 25th Congressional District.
Through her work on the House Armed Services Committee, Hill ensured that the NDAA included major local priorities.
The final $733 billion bill included $33 million above the president’s budget request to ensure the continued U-2 modernization program at Plant 42, protecting more than 350 Palmdale jobs.
It also authorized funding for 73 UH-60M Blackhawk helicopters, which utilize parts from six different manufacturing suppliers in CA-25, as well as 90 F-35 fighters, marking the largest procurement of the aircraft to date. The F-35 program, directly and indirectly, employs almost 6,000 people in CA-25.
The NDAA incorporated $50 million for the Defense Community Infrastructure Program to address deficiencies in community infrastructure projects around military installations like Edwards Air Force Base.
Finally, the bill fully funded the B-21 bomber program at $3 billion.
Broader wins included:
· Increased survivor benefits for Gold Star spouses by an average of $1,250 per month by ending the “Widow’s Tax” (or the Survivor Benefit Plan / Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Offset).
· A repeal of Trump’s discriminatory and hateful transgender military ban, so that every individual who is willing and able to serve their country is free to do so.
· A requirement that the Department of Defense report on its progress toward meeting the goal of 25% renewable energy by 2025, aided by an additional $40 million for its Energy Resilience and Conservation Investment Program.
· A requirement that the military establishes a tenants’ bill of rights for residents of privatized military housing.
“At every single step of drafting and passing the FY20 NDAA, our community’s well-being — its safety and its economic security — has been my only priority,” Hill said. “I’m extremely proud to have been a part of securing mission-critical funding and program development, in addition to supporting tens of thousands of local jobs, unlocking new opportunities for our community, and strengthening transparency and accountability in our government.”
During Friday’s floor vote, a fifth amendment by Hill, #152, was added to the bill with broad bipartisan support. The amendment instructs the Secretary of Defense to take necessary action to strengthen the domestic production of small unmanned aircraft systems, ensuring our American military remains the strongest in the world and has the technology to compete with China. This will boost both security and job creation within the 25th district.
“My amendment that today passed with the NDAA will boost our security, our global competitiveness, and job creation right here in the 25th district,” Hill said. “I will continue to advocate for Aerospace Valley as we work to ensure our military and our defense remains the strongest in the world.”