Rep. Crow Tackles Climate Change at DOD; Secures Passage of MIRA Act in NDAA
Today, Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO-6) voted in support of the bipartisan conference report for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020, which passed the House of Representatives 377-48. The NDAA funds a wide variety of national security and defense programs and will direct how the U.S. will protect its own national security for the coming year. The bill is expected to be signed by the President in the coming days.
Notably, Rep. Crow’s Military Installation Resilience Assuredness (MIRA) Act, which improves the security and resilience of military installations that are vulnerable to the damaging effects of extreme weather and climate change, was incorporated into the NDAA. In recent years, extreme weather events brought on by global warming have resulted in billions of dollars spent on base repairs, such as $3.6 billion for Camp Lejeune following Hurricane Florence, which has severely hindered military readiness.
“As a soldier, I have been on the receiving end of Congress’ decision about how to fund our military and I’m proud that today that we came together and passed a bipartisan bill that does our servicemembers justice,” said Rep. Jason Crow. “To be clear, this isn’t a perfect bill, but it is the most progressive NDAA Congress has seen in a generation and advances many of Colorado’s key priorities. With the inclusion of the MIRA Act, we are days away from signing into law bold action to address climate change at the Department of Defense. Climate change is a threat to our national security and I’m thrilled to have found common ground with my colleagues to address this urgent issue.”
After nearly 10 months of developing this year’s NDAA, Crow’s priorities included in the final conference report includes provisions to:
Fighting for Servicemembers, Families, and Civilian Personnel
- Increase basic pay for servicemembers by 3.1 % - the largest increase in a decade.
- Implement paid parental leave for all federal employeesin the case of adoption, birth, or fostering to ensure that we are recruiting and retaining the best and brightest talent for government service.
- Protect servicemember-recipients of DACA or TPS from being involuntarily separated from the military and ensuring that the military service of non-citizen veterans in removal proceedings is considered before a determination is made on their cases.
- Repeal the “Widow’s Tax” which unfairly reduced the annuity payments fallen servicemembers’ spouses are entitled to receive.
- Improve the mental health care for servicemembers and families and increase the transparency of suicide prevention programs
- Address the DOD use of PFAS by:
- Banning the use of PFAS in fire fighting agents by 2024 and requiring the development of a safe alternative;
- Prohibiting the use of fire fighting agents that contain PFAS/PFOA when not necessary to respond to an actual emergency; and
- Mandating that DOD adheres to the strictest state drinking water standards.
- Impose reforms to military family housing through:
- Establishing landlord responsibilities and tenants’ rights;
- Increasing transparency through the creation of a public database for military housing complaints;
- Authorizing an additional $140.8 million to hire more civilian personnel to conduct oversight and address management concerns.
Making DOD More Efficient and Resilient to Climate Change
- Include Rep. Crow’s Military Installation Resilience Assuredness (MIRA) Act (H.R.3041) which requires major military installations plan for climate change when drafting master plans by identifying vulnerabilities and plans to address them.
- Provide $100 million for the Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative (REPI) to continue land conservation and community cooperation efforts across the country, mirroring the gold-standard set by the work at Buckley Air Force Base.
Leading in Space
- Maintain the schedule and scope for National Security Space Launch (NSSL) to ensure the U.S. maintains guaranteed access to space to support global operations. Rep. Crow was joined by Rep. Lamborn (R-CO) in fighting to ensure fair competition throughout the NSSL process.
- Create the U.S. Space Force as a sixth Armed Service of the U.S. under the Department of the Air Force, in recognition of burgeoning importance of space as a warfighting domain.
Standing by Allies and Partners
- Provide an additional 4,000 Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) for Afghan partners whose service to the U.S. has put them and their families in grave danger.
- Reaffirm our commitment to NATO allies by emphasizing the importance of the alliance and prohibiting funds from being used to withdraw.
Protecting U.S. National Security
- Improve U.S. engagement in the Middle East by:
- Increasing oversight of military operations in Iraq and Syria.
- Imposing sanctions against the Assad regime for its gross human rights violations against its own population.
- Enhancing Congressional oversight of the conflict in Afghanistan.
- Holding Saudi Arabia accountable for human rights violations in Yemen and for the murder of Jamal Kashoggi.
- Confront Russian aggression by:
- Countering Russian influence and election interference efforts.
- Providing $300 million in security assistance to assist our Ukrainian allies in defending against ongoing Russian aggression.