Congressman Brett Guthrie (KY-02) voted this week for H.R. 4909, the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2017, an annual bill to authorize funding and programming for the U.S. military. The House and Senate have worked together to pass an NDAA into law for 54 consecutive years.
This year’s NDAA includes a bill Guthrie introduced, H.R. 4984, which authorizes the Secretary of the Army to continue to provide for the production and use of natural gas located at Fort Knox.
“I am very pleased that this provision was unanimously passed in the House as part of the NDAA. Fort Knox is a premier installation across the whole Department of Defense. Its world class training facilities, global reach, and energy security have made it central to Army readiness and the defense of our nation. Being able to produce and use on-site natural gas is an essential part of staying ‘off the grid,’ providing tremendous cost savings for the Army. By including this bill in the NDAA, we have been able to settle any attempts by other federal agencies to reverse the Army’s energy security achievements at Fort Knox,” said Guthrie.
“As protecting Fort Knox’s energy independence is critical to military readiness, it is also important that every year we evaluate what improvements can be made in our broader defense policy to better protect our nation and provide for the men and women who are on the frontlines defending us,” Guthrie said. “This bill includes reforms to update equipment capabilities, ensure that next-to-deploy units receive proper training, provide for facilities restoration and modernization, and maintain an end-strength personnel level that properly reflects the growing security threats we face around the world.”
H.R. 4909 includes a pay raise for servicemen and women and blocks any attempt by President Barack Obama to unilaterally reduce service member pay. The bill also expands access to healthcare for military families and takes steps to strengthen the readiness levels of the healthcare professionals service members rely on for quality care.
The NDAA includes a number of provisions specifically related to defending the nation against radical Islamic extremists. The bill includes resources to assist foreign security forces who are fighting ISIS, extends training and equipment programs for Iraqi and Syrian allies, and maintains the strong prohibition against transferring Guantanamo Bay detainees to the U.S. or transferring the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base back to Cuba. Finally, the bill supports the United States’ strongest Middle Eastern ally, Israel, by increasing funding for Israeli cooperative missile defense, including Iron Dome, David’s Sling and other programs.
“This legislation will improve care for our service members and their families, while equipping our military with the best resources that we can to continue to protect our nation,” said Guthrie. “Though not a full fix, this bill makes significant progress toward reversing the harmful effects of sequestration, while cutting wasteful and excessive spending, redirecting those resources to more urgent needs.”