Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: Bipartisan Defense Bill Supports Hawai‘i Priorities and Economy
Washington, DC – Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today voted in support of the annual National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014. The must-pass bill is a compromise between the House- and Senate-passed versions, and passed the House of Representatives today by a vote of 350-69.
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard worked on and supported several crucial provisions in the final bill, including more than $400 million for military construction projects in Hawai‘i and improvements to the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) programs for Iraqi and Afghan citizens who worked as interpreters working with the U.S. military overseas.
“This final bipartisan Defense bill demonstrates a commitment to Hawai‘i’s strategic importance in the Pacific and provides for good jobs across our islands,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. “This year’s bill also continues support for missile defense and provides resources for the protection of Hawai‘i and the mainland from emerging threats around the globe. By improving the Special Immigrant Visa program, the bill recognizes the commitment of the U.S. to the Iraqi and Afghan citizens who put their lives on the line to help our troops overseas. It also will maintain our commitment to Hawai‘i’s selfless veterans by allowing a one-time chance for certain beneficiaries who live within 40-100 miles of a military medical facility to stay on TRICARE Prime, which is critical for our neighbor island residents.
“While it is disappointing that the Military Justice Improvement Act was not brought to a vote in either the House or Senate this year, I am encouraged by the progress made on the issue of sexual assault in our ranks and the many provisions that were included in the Defense bill.”
- Military Construction (MILCON): Provides more than $400 million in funding or Hawai‘i military construction projects.
- TRICARE: Provides a one-time opportunity for certain beneficiaries who live within 40-100 miles of a military medical treatment facility and have not moved to remain on TRICARE Prime. This is a provision that is critical to serve our neighbor island veterans.
- Rebalance to the Pacific: NDAA reflects the U.S. commitment to the rebalance, but Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard will work to ensure that sufficient resources are dedicated to carry out the renewed focus on the Asia-Pacific region.
- Missile Defense: Authorizes $9.5 billion for missile defense programs and authorizes funds for a new radar aimed at identifying missile launches from North Korea.
- Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC): Prohibits a new round of BRAC cuts.
- Iraqi and Afghan Interpreters: The bill extends and improves the Iraqi Special Immigrant Visa program and makes improvements to the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Program. During House consideration of the NDAA earlier this year, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard introduced an amendment to strengthen and reform the backlogged SIV program for Iraqi and Afghan citizens who have bravely served alongside American troops during war. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard spoke in support of the measure on the House floor and it later passed with an overwhelming vote of 420-3.