Congresswoman Veronica Escobar Applauds Passage of NDAA Securing Wins for El Paso, Climate Change, and Protecting Our American Values

July 12, 2019
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16), member of the House Armed Services Committee, voted for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020, securing big wins for El Paso, tackling key threats like climate change, and protecting our American values.

The NDAA is responsible legislation that includes Fort Bliss and El Paso priorities and authorizes $733 billion for a strong, smart national defense.

“Today the House of Representatives delivered a strong National Defense Authorization Act providing essential support to our deserving men and women in uniform. The legislation includes a 3.1% pay raise for our service members and incorporates ideas from both sides of the aisle,” said Congresswoman Escobar. “As a member of the Armed Services Committee, I am immensely proud to have worked and voted for a NDAA that supports our vibrant El Paso community, enhances housing and financial support to military families, addresses operational and budgetary threats posed by climate change, and blocks President Trump from robbing finite military resources for a wall our military never requested.”

“In this era, where partisanship is the norm, the Democratic members of the Armed Services Committee have worked diligently to preserve our Committee’s long-standing tradition of bipartisanship, and the FY20 NDAA is a reflection of that tradition,” said House Armed Services Chairman Adam Smith. “While this year’s NDAA contains bipartisan provisions, our new Democratic majority has had an undeniable impact on the contents of this bill. Thanks to the leadership of Congresswoman Escobar, the bill passed today reflects our Democratic values, supports our troops, and provides for a strong national defense enterprise.”

Below, an overview of the big wins for the region delivered by Congresswoman Escobar:

The NDAA improves the lives and financial security of our men and women in uniform and civilian employees. It gives our servicemembers a pay raise of 3.1 percent and includes numerous provisions to support military families, improve military housing and clean up contaminated drinking water at military bases. It also takes critical steps to modernize workplace protections for the civilian employees who support our national security.

Congresswoman Escobar pushed for this year’s NDAA to require the DoD to produce Defense Community Infrastructure Program implementation guidance and report Congress so communities like El Paso have the chance to access these programs.

Congresswoman Escobar understands that communities like El Paso make our military stronger. At her request, the NDAA requires the Secretary of Defense to update and implement the Department of Defense Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan.

Congresswoman Escobar fought for this year’s NDAA to affirm the value of energy resilience work done by installations like Fort Bliss and push the DoD to plan for resiliency in construction and address long-term environmental effects.

Congresswoman Escobar worked to ensure the NDAA includes Congress’ support for additive manufacturing technology and require that DoD assess and report to Congress on the contributions that the technology, like the one developed at UTEP’s W.M. Keck Center, can make in theatres of combat.

Congresswoman Escobar made sure the legislation requires DoD to look at the potential benefits of co-locating military treatment facilities in close proximity to veterans’ facilities. The bill mentions El Paso’s William Beaumont Army Medical Center (WBAMC), which is already a pioneer in this important work.

Because of the Congresswoman’s leadership, the NDAA includes language to require the Army to report to Congress on its strategy to reorganize small business representatives and provide clear metrics for tracking service to communities like El Paso.

Congresswoman Escobar successfully added an amendment to the NDAA that will ensure minimum safety standards are met in any housing provided to migrant children. This clarification will protect our American values and ensure the full legal force of the Flores settlement.

Congresswoman Escobar successfully added two amendments to the NDAA that will make our military more adept at mitigating climate change. Her amendments require the DoD to specify climate-related mitigation and recovery costs in its budget submissions to Congress, and allow military installations to use funds derived from energy cost savings for operational energy programs.