WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) voted to approve the Defense Authorization Bill which includes a comprehensive plan to protect our troops, restore military readiness and provide servicemen and women with a much-needed pay raise.
“Our military personnel dedicate themselves to taking care of this nation and in turn this nation must take care of our service members,” said Congressman Higgins. “In addition to providing a well deserved pay increase, this legislation provides the resources to purchase new equipment to keep our troops and our country safe.”
The legislation passed today provides all service members a pay raise of 3.9 percent and extends the authority for the Defense Department to offer bonuses and incentive pay. The bill also aids servicemen and women and their families by rejecting the Administration’s plan to increase premiums and co-pays for the military and retirees who are enrolled in the TRICARE system. All told, this provision will save troops, their families and military retirees $1.2 billion.
The bill also takes critical steps to end the military’s readiness crisis. In recent years, Army readiness has dropped to unprecedented levels, and Army National Guard units have, on average, only 63 percent of their required equipment. Additionally, many stateside units are not fully equipped and would not be considered ready if called upon to respond during an emergency.
The measure helps restore our nation’s military readiness by funding the Army’s and Marine Corps’ equipment reset requirements, authorizing nearly $2 billion for unfunded readiness initiatives including addressing additional equipment shortfalls, and authorizing $800 million to provide the National Guard and Reserve critically needed equipment.
The bill also protects troops in harm’s way by authorizing $2.6 billion for additional Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, $947 million for additional Up-Armored Humvees, and $783 million for the continued procurement and enhancement of personal body armor.