Investment in our service members

By Blaine Luetkemeyer, 3rd District Congressman
Posted 7/19/23

This week, the House took up the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to fund our nation’s military. As we’ve seen over the last couple years with Putin’s attack on …

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Investment in our service members


This week, the House took up the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to fund our nation’s military. As we’ve seen over the last couple years with Putin’s attack on Ukraine and elevated levels of aggression from the Chinese Communist Party, national security could not be more important. With this level of volatility in our world, we need to be prepared for anything and the NDAA is the best way to do that. One of the main pillars of House Republicans’ Commitment to America plan was a nation that’s safe, and we’re making good on that promise by passing a comprehensive budget that significantly strengthens our military.

The NDAA is Congress’ annual investment in our servicemembers, providing them with the resources they need to do their jobs and helping ensure military families are taken care of while their loved ones protect our nation. This year’s NDAA includes a much-deserved pay increase for our military, better access to healthcare and housing improvements, and oversight to ensure taxpayer dollar funding is going toward helping our servicemembers and their efforts, not government waste. Woke initiatives like putting a “Chief Diversity Officer” at the Department of Defense and making the Navy’s “Digital Ambassador” a drag queen definitely doesn’t increase our national security. House Republicans’ 2024 NDAA gets rid of woke programs like these and instead puts that funding toward our troops and military efforts – where it should be.

In my work on the Select Committee on the CCP, we are constantly learning more about the many ways the Chinese government is competing with us and defense is certainly no exception. We have unfortunately seen mounting aggression from China over the last year and I wholeheartedly believe they are our nation’s biggest threat. I’ve spoken many times about the spy balloon and dangers of Americans having CCP-owned apps like TikTok on cell phones. But in addition to all the ways they’re invading civilian privacy, their military efforts are ramping up. Just last month, the U.S. military had a dangerously close encounter with a Chinese warship that was operating at a far-too-close range of 150 yards in the Taiwan Strait. The U.S. military was conducting routine work in the Indo-Pacific when the Chinese warship forced ours to quickly slow its course to avoid a collision. And a few weeks ago in the most alarming development of all, the Wall Street Journal reported that China is in conversation with Cuba to establish a Chinese military training facility on the island – 100 miles off the coast of Florida. The Chinese have had intelligence collection facilities in Cuba since 2019 which is also frightening, but bringing their own troops to our doorstep is a direct threat. We should be treating that threat appropriately, and the NDAA will help equip our nation with the necessary tools to do that.

The NDAA is a comprehensive bill, and there are far too many worthwhile provisions to go through them all, but here are a few. Here at home, this legislation would: first and foremost, provide servicemembers with the largest pay raise in 20 years; expand the Basic Needs Allowance to help servicemembers who are supporting a family make ends meet amidst record-high inflation; reduce childcare fees and authorize more than $280 million to build new schools for military children; and prevent any type of “Military Green New Deal” from being possible by removing all climate change provisions from the bill. The 2024 NDAA also seeks to combat Communist China and the CCP’s continued aggression by: rejecting the Biden Administration’s completely unwarranted effort to reduce the size of our Navy – especially in the wake of the Chinese military aggression at sea in June; increasing funding for military construction projects and logistical capabilities in the Indo-Pacific to ensure we’re fully prepared should it be necessary; requiring the Department of Defense to identify and deal with harmful encroachment near military installations, especially land purchases made by CCP-backed entities; and it would accelerate the deployment of advanced radar so threats like the spy balloon and other CCP aggressions on our own soil can be dealt with in a much more timely fashion.

The House voted to pass this legislation today and now it heads to the Senate. The members of our military work tirelessly and sacrifice so much for this country, the least we can do is give them everything they need to do their jobs, protect this nation, and provide for their families. I look forward to getting the 2024 NDAA passed through both sides of Congress so we can do just that.