Scott Statement on the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act Conference Report
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Bobby Scott, the chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, issued the following statement after the House of Representatives agreed to the Conference Report to accompany H.R. 6395, the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021. Congressman Scott served as a conferee for the education and labor provisions contained in the House and Senate version of the FY 2021 NDAA.
“I was proud to vote for this year’s National Defense Authorization Act. Our military assets and shipbuilding industrial base are vital to the economy of Hampton Roads. The conference report provides for a well-deserved three percent pay increase for our servicemembers. It also includes several important provisions that will directly support shipbuilding and ship maintenance in Hampton Roads. These provisions include funding for the Navy to procure one Columbia-class submarine and two Virginia-class submarines, and requiring advanced procurement to maintain the two per year build rate for the Virginia-class program. The FY21 NDAA also specifically prohibits the retirement of an aircraft carrier before its mid-life refueling.
“Our region is also home to Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNS) – the nation’s oldest public shipyard. NNS has long been in need of significant capital improvements and progress has been made over the years, but more needs to be done to support its mission. The FY21 NDAA includes important language requiring the Navy to establish dedicated funding for the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program (SIOP), as well as requiring regular briefings to Congress on the status of the implementation of shipyard optimization and modernization.
“The conference report also provides funding for environmental remediation on military bases, including funding to clean-up bases contaminated with PFAS chemicals, and funding to research alternatives to PFAS chemicals. Protecting military families, firefighters, and all of Hampton Roads from PFAS pollution remains a priority and I will continue to work with my colleagues to clean-up and avoid further PFAS pollution.
“And as Chair of the Education and Labor Committee, it was important for me to see the inclusion of funding for the Impact Aid program, which provides critical funding to school districts impacted by the loss of property taxes due to nearby tax-exempt military installations located near or within school districts. And I am pleased that several provisions maintain critical support for our HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions, which play a critical role in creating a diverse national security workforce.
“Finally, the FY21 NDAA establishes a process to finally remove all names, symbols, displays, monuments, and other paraphernalia that honors or commemorates the Confederate States of America or anyone that voluntarily served in rebellion against the United States. This symbolic yet important change demonstrates our willingness to acknowledge our complicated history and to honor those Americans who fought for our nation.”
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