House Passes National Defense Bill that Congresswoman Bustos helped negotiate

Bustos served on the Conference Committee that pounded out the final version of this year’s defense bill

Bustos included several of her key priorities in this year’s defense bill to strengthen the Rock Island Arsenal, provide our troops with the tools they need to succeed and ensure a bright future for Illinois’ aerospace and logistics industries

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos proudly voted for the final version of the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which she helped negotiate over the last month. In October, Congresswoman Bustos was appointed to serve on the NDAA’s bipartisan Conference Committee which consisted of Members from the House and Senate. Together, they negotiated the final version of the bill which passed the House today and is headed to the Senate.

In this process, Bustos successfully included several provisions that will help ensure a steady supply of work for the Rock Island Arsenal, shore up our aerospace and logistics industries and reduce government waste – all while providing our brave men and women in the field with a pay raise and the tools they need to succeed.

“Over the last month, I proudly worked across party lines to deliver a National Defense bill that strengthens our military capabilities while ensuring that hardworking Illinoisans will continue playing a crucial role in our national security,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “In particular, I was pleased to include provisions that will make it easier for the Rock Island Arsenal to lease excess space and establish new ‘make or buy’ guidelines that will help direct more work to military facilities like the Arsenal so we can create more good-paying jobs. I also successfully included my bill to cut government waste by enforcing accountability and oversight in the use of government charge cards so we can do a better job protecting taxpayers. We also included funding for upgrades to C-130 planes, like the ones that fly out of the Peoria National Guard base, and made sure that there will continue to be real opportunities for our aerospace and logistics industries. I am especially proud that we did all of this while providing our troops with a pay raise and preventing another round of base closures in the coming year.

 “I want to thank Illinois and Iowa’s Senators as well as Reps. Loebsack, Bordallo and Meadows for working with me along the way to make this such a strong defense bill for our troops as well as the hardworking men and women across the heartland.”

Below are several of the provisions Congresswoman Bustos worked to include in the NDAA:

  • A Requirement for the Secretary of the Army to establish guidance on the process for conducting make-or-buy analyses for Army needs, including the use of arsenals and the organic industrial base. The Government Accountability Office determined that this was a necessary step to ensure that the Department of Defense appropriately considers arsenals to manufacture the equipment our warfighters need.
  • Requirements for the Department of Defense to certify that no usable space is available on existing military installations like the Arsenal before leasing space with rent costs exceeding $750,000 annually or purchasing new space valued at more than $750,000 total.
    • This is the text of Rep. Bustos’ DOD Check Before You Rent Act.
  • Extension of the authority for the local commands at arsenals, depots and ammunition plants to approve leases for underutilized space on their own installations.
  • Rep. Bustos’ Saving Federal Dollars Through Better Use of Government Purchase and Travel Cards Act of 2017 was also included in its entirety.
    • The bill would establish federal-wide charge card analysis and oversight, help agencies share best practices and support efforts to use strategic sourcing to get better rates on purchases made across multiple agencies.

The NDAA also includes the following provisions:

  • Raises military pay by 2.4%;
  • Funding for modernization and necessary upgrades to C-130 cargo planes like those flown out of the Peoria Air National Guard base;
  • Prohibits the planning or execution of a new Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round in FY18;
  • Increases the size of the active Army by 7,500, the Army National Guard by 500, the Army Reserve by 500 and the Marine Corps by 1,000, fulfilling the administration’s request;
  • Requires strategies to understand Russia’s strategic objectives and to counter Russian influence;
  • Strengthens US cybersecurity posture and strengthens Congressional oversight of cyber warfare capabilities;
  • Supports critical upgrades in missile defense;
  • Specifically prohibits the nonconsensual sharing of intimate images in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, a response to the Marines United scandal;
  • Expands sexual trauma counseling and treatment for members of the reserves;
  • Authorizes funding for 3,500 Special Immigration Visas for Afghan nationals aiding our military efforts in that country;
  • Requires the President to report on the legal and policy justification for military action under the existing authorizations of the use of military force (AUMFs);
  • Requires a study on safe opioid prescribing practices for the military;
  • Funds the purchase of additional F/A-18s and F-35s;
  • Extends survivor benefits for widows by permanently extending the Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance.