Congress recently passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021. I am proud to announce several important amendments to the final bill that are sure to benefit Utah and the nation.
My Allied Burden Sharing Report amendment, adopted into the NDAA, will require the Department of Defense (DoD) to submit a report on the contributions made by our allies to our common defense. It will allow Congress to perform its oversight over U.S. defense agreements with our allies to know whether they are paying their share of the costs associated with our mutual defense strategy.
I worked successfully with Senator Lankford to adopt language in the NDAA that will allow the DoD to hire veterans into civilian positions without having to wait the arbitrary six months currently mandated. This destructive 180-day hiring restriction was an artificial barrier to entry for highly skilled veterans who are needed most and can least afford to wait.
I also worked with Senator Romney on an amendment requiring the DoD to report on our Chemical and Biological Defense Program. Much of this critical work is conducted at Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah. The passage of this amendment will ensure Congress better understands the mission-essential work done by this program to keep our troops safe from chemical and biological contaminants.
Finally, I also introduced a bipartisan amendment to include the ARTICLE One Act, which would re-assert Congress’ role in determining future emergency declarations. This could prevent millions of dollars of vital funds from being diverted away from important defense procurement and training projects within Utah and across the country. Diverting funds undermines the mission readiness of our Airmen and the Utah National Guard. While this was not adopted, I look forward to continuing to work on this priority so that Americans have a voice, through their elected Senators and Representatives, on determining when emergency authorities should be granted to the executive branch to reprioritize the federal government’s spending and actions.
I am committed to working for my fellow Utahns who bravely serve in the armed forces and ensuring their voices are heard in Congress. These amendments are win-wins for the State of Utah, the members of our nation’s armed forces, and the American taxpayers.