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Congresswoman Escobar Votes to Advance Fiscal Year 2025 National Defense Authorization Act

Last night, Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16) and her House Armed Services Committee (HASC) colleagues advanced out of committee H.R. 8070, the Servicemember Quality of Life Improvement and National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2025 which included key provisions introduced and championed by Congresswoman Escobar for El Paso and Fort Bliss.

To ensure the United States continues to recruit and retain the most talented military and civilian workforce we need, the FY25 NDAA base text has been led by the final report of the Quality of Life panel – a bipartisan panel Congresswoman Escobar was appointed to – that focused on pay and compensation, housing, health care, childcare, and spousal support. The result is a 19.5% pay raise for junior enlisted servicemembers and 4.5% pay raise for all other service members. Moreover, it authorizes over $17.5 billion in military construction projects, to include $44 million to complete the Rail Yard at Fort Bliss, and $1.15 billion to improve housing conditions across the military services. 

“Having had the privilege to serve on the Quality of Life panel, I’m proud to share that the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2025 is a truly bipartisan culmination of the nearly year-long effort spearheaded by our panel for the men and women of our military and their families,” said Congresswoman Escobar. “The provisions we included invest in our military’s most critical asset - its people. From compensation, military spouse support, childcare to housing and healthcare, we’re ensuring our military can recruit and retain the best our country has to offer. 

“I’m also excited to announce that we’ve built on our work of securing $74 million for the Fort Bliss rail yard last year by bringing an additional $44 million to fully fund that project in this year’s budget.” 

Below is an overview of some key FY25 NDAA provisions authored and championed by Congresswoman Escobar: 


Invests in Our Community and Quality of Life Infrastructure 

  • Authorizes over $17.5 billion for military construction projects, including the allocation of $44M to Complete the Rail Yard at Fort Bliss.  
  • Requires the DoD’s annual budget request to identify the cost to fully fund the Facility Sustainment, Restoration, and Modernization (FSRM) accounts—which provide the funds to keep DoD facilities in good, working order—and reduce the backlog of required maintenance.  
  • Improves transparency and oversight of FSRM funds, including more congressional oversight. 
  • Requires DoD to designate personnel responsible for the oversight of barracks.  
  • Requires a study on providing free wireless internet access to service members in all unaccompanied housing facilities.  


Invests in Innovation 

  • Authorizes $10 million over the President’s Budget request for Low-Cost Missile Systems Development in collaboration with El Paso Makes. 
  • Authorizes $10 million over the President’s Budget request for Advanced Manufacturing for Future Vertical Lift in collaboration with El Paso Makes. 


Invests in people  

Pay and Compensation  

  • 19.5% pay raise for junior enlisted service members (E-4 and below) and 4.5% basic pay increase for all other service members.  
  • Allocates funding to reverse the 5% reduction in Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) and ensure BAH covers 100% of the calculated rate for the military housing area (MHA).  
  • Requires the evaluation of the current calculation methods for Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) to ensure that it offsets the costs of service members’ meals. 
  • Raises the threshold for the Basic Needs Allowance (BNA) to 200% of federal poverty guidelines.  
  • Reevaluates how cost-of-living allowances are calculated so they include the appropriate costs of location-specific items such as food, tolls, and other fees that may be charged in the continental United States or outside the continental U.S.  
  • Allows service members and families to ship and store up to two privately owned vehicles during a permanent change of station move to certain overseas locations.  


Health Care  

  • Assesses the effectiveness of current access standards to meet the healthcare needs of service members and their families.  
  • Requires the Department to provide access to care data for all health care services available at each Military Treatment Facility with inpatient capabilities to have a better picture of where issues exist.  
  • Directs the Defense Health Agency to establish access to care standards for beneficiaries who receive urgent referrals for specialty behavioral health care appointments.  
  • Expands access to specialty providers. 
  • Reevaluates hiring and retention authorities available for civilian medical providers. 
  • Eliminates co-pays for contraception under TRICARE for beneficiaries for one calendar year, through Congresswoman Escobar’s amendment. 
  • Directs the Joint Service Committee on Military Justice to conduct a review and make recommendations to enhance patient privacy protections as it relates to diagnoses and treatment information, especially important for victims of sexual assault and violence. 
  • Directs TRICARE to cover assisted reproductive technologies for beneficiaries, to include IVF services. 
  • Directs TRICARE to expand their supply of contraceptives for up to a year for beneficiaries.



  • Fully funds childcare fee assistance programs to eliminate fee assistance wait lists for eligible families. 
  • Authorizes $50 million for local educational agencies with military dependent students and $20 million for local educational agencies eligible to receive payment for children with severe disabilities.  
  • To recruit and retain DoD childcare personnel the FY25 NDAA:  
  • Ensures pay for childcare staff at DoD childcare centers is competitive with private industry.  
  • Implements additional benefits for childcare providers, including requiring all military services to provide free childcare to the first child of a childcare provider in a DoD Child Development Program and authorize the services to cover up to 100% of childcare fees for any additional children.  
  • Assesses “Come Grow with Us,” a national childcare staff recruitment effort launched in 2021, which established partnerships with local colleges and universities to recruit students and recent graduates for childcare staff positions. 
  • Directs the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study to determine the use and effectiveness of existing Non-Appropriated Fund employee hiring and retention authorities currently available for childcare workers. 


Spousal Support 

  • Permanently authorizes the Military Spouse Career Accelerator Pilot which provides employment support to military spouses through a paid fellowship with employers across various industries.  
  • Permanently grants authority to DoD to make transferring professional licenses between states easier for military spouses.  
  • Reviews the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Program to make improvements.  
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