Scott Floor Statement in Support of Final National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017

December 2, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) delivered the following remarks on the House floor in support of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2017. Congressman Scott, as Ranking Member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, was appointed to the conference committee in July and successfully advocated for the removal of several harmful workplace provisions that were eliminated from the final bill text.

“Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017.

“I have the honor of representing Hampton Roads, Virginia, the heart of our nation’s shipbuilding industrial base. So I want to underscore my support for the shipbuilding and ship maintenance provisions in the bill, including the language urging the Secretary of the Navy to speed up the procurement schedule for aircraft carriers to ensure that our carrier fleet is not again reduced to 10 carriers. These provisions will not only significantly benefit my region, but will be critical to our nation’s security. I want to particularly commend my colleague from Virginia, the chair of the Seapower Subcommittee, Mr. Forbes, and the ranking member of that Subcommittee, Mr. Courtney, for their hard work on the shipbuilding aspects of the bill.

“As the Ranking Member of the Education and the Workforce Committee, I was pleased to see that the final conference report eliminated three matters of grave concern that would have adversely affected working conditions for shipyard workers and employees of government contractors.

“The first provision eliminated from the bill would have severely undermined the workers’ compensation benefits that many shipyard workers’ now receive under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.

“The second problematic provision would have authorized taxpayer-funded employment discrimination by religious organizations.

“And, a third provision would have significantly diminished the application of the Executive Order on Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces. This order will now remain in effect and will help level the playing field so that those contractors who willfully and repeatedly violate workplace safety, labor, and civil rights laws will not gain competitive advantages over those law-abiding contractors who faithfully comply with employment laws.

“In closing, Mr. Speaker, I want to recognize the exceptional work made by the Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee, Mr. Smith, with the cooperation of the chair of the committee, Mr. Thornberry, to produce a bill that addresses the defense needs of our nation, but also ensures that workers are treated fairly.”

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Conference Committee Related Letters Led by Congressman Scott: