It has been quite busy this year with the first half of the year dedicated to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The second half of the year proves to be equally as busy with the bill conference, final bill passage, and so much going on in the San Diego defense community.
I hope that you will find this edition of my Defense E-Newsletter helpful, and I look forward to your feedback and suggestions for future issues.
Thank you for reading!
Susan A. Davis
House Armed Services
Military Personnel SubCommittee
Inside the House Armed Services Committee
Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act
The House Armed Services Committee came together in a bipartisan manner to improve on personnel benefits to continue our commitment to taking care of our military families. Although I voted yes on the Defense Bill and support many provisions in both the House and Senate versions, I remain concerned about several of the provisions and will address them as we move forward in conference.
To find out more about the bill click here.
The bill funds critical priorities to meet the needs of our troops around the world. I was pleased to have several of my provisions added to the House Bill:
- Expanded parental leave in the military that increases leave for the spouse of someone who gives birth from 10 days to at least 14 days; and allows dual military couples who adopt to share a total of 36 days of leave according to their family needs. I also included language to direct the DoD to study the feasibility of shared parental leave for dual military families after one member gives birth to a child.
- Prevention of servicemembers' overpayment on student loans by directing the DoD to develop a plan of action to address overpayment in student loan interest.
- Create Joint Explosive Ordinance Disposal Program that establishes a fully joint EOD program with the Navy as executive agent for the Department of Defense to coordinate and integrate research, development and application for EOD defense programs.
- Increase access to infertility services for seriously wounded veterans by directing the DoD to implement a plan on outreach to veterans who were seriously wounded, ill or injured to inform them of the services available to them.
- Restore the inurnment rights for Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) at Arlington National Cemetery which incorporates the language of the Arlington Inurnment Act passed by the full House this March. I was the lead cosponsor of the bill.
- Recognize the role of women in the military by authorizing financial support military service memorials and museums that highlight the role of women in the military
- Retention and recruitment of Afghan Women in Security Forces by adding language to require a goal of $25 million to the funding authority of the Afghan Security Forces.
I am disappointed that my efforts to address the issues of food insecurity among our men and women in uniform, and extend survivor benefits for military widows was blocked by the majority. My amendment to exclude housing allowance when determining income eligibility for SNAP benefits as well as pay for these critical benefits for widows is a common sense solution to a problem that is impacting thousands of servicemembers and 63,000 widows. As a Conferee I will continue to fight for responsible legislation regarding our national defense.
- Tri-Care Reform
- Force End Strength
- Structural Changes to the DoD (Goldwater-Nichols Reform)
- Transgender Service Implementation
The Defense Community in San Diego
Supporting Project Labor Agreements and Local Jobs
I was pleased to bring local union leaders together with Rep. Scott Peters and Admiral Rich to discuss the tremendous benefits project labor agreements (PLAs) bring to the table for military construction projects, including hiring veterans and keeping jobs local.
Welcoming the Secretary of the Army, Eric Fanning to the 2016 San Diego Pride Week!
A special thanks and welcome to Secretary Eric Fanning to the 2016 San Diego Pride week celebration. I was honored to speak with him about the important work that he has before him as Secretary of our largest fighting force.
29th Year of National Stand Down Hosted by Veterans Village of San Diego
I was thankful to have had the opportunity to attend the very well community supported 2016 San Diego Veterans Stand Down lead by the Veterans Village of San Diego. It is important that we remember our veterans and give back to them for all that they have given in service to us.
Moss Grills Supporting Veterans in the local community!
Stopped by a veteran owned local business today to see how they are keeping jobs local and hiring veterans in the community. Mr. Fred Moss of Moss Grills is a San Diego veteran who understands the importance of community and the powerful resource of local small businesses.
Meeting with San Diego ONE VA Advisory Board
I delivered a report on DoD/VA congressional matters to the San Diego ONE VA Community Advisory Board at the Mission Valley Regional Office. We discussed the importance of the active duty transition process into the civilian workforce as well as NDAA provisions that provide for In-Vitro fertilization care to Iraq/Afghanistan veterans suffering from uro-genital injuries on the battlefield.
Police Chief at San Diego Military Advisory Council Meeting
I enjoyed listening and meeting with San Diego Chief of Police Shelley Zimmerman during the San Diego Military Advisory Council meeting (SDMAC). It is great to see our local law enforcement engaged with the community in a collaborative effort to ensure community safety and awareness.
Welcoming the New San Diego VA Director, Dr. Robert Smith
Welcome to the new San Diego VA Director, Dr. Robert Smith. Dr. Smith is deeply invested in the health care of our veterans and their families. His unique experience as a VA physician makes him uniquely qualified for his position as director. I look forward to working with him to ensure our veterans receive the quality care and services they have earned.
During This Month in Military History
Happy birthday Unites States Coast Guard! The U.S. Coast Guard celebrated its 223 year on August 4th. The history of the Coast Guard dates back to the Revenue Cutter Service, which was the founded on August 4, 1790 as part of the Department of The Treasury.