Five Graves Provisions Advance as House Passes Defense Policy Bill
WASHINGTON, DC - Several policies authored by Congressman Garret Graves (South Louisiana) earned approval in the U.S. House with the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2018 (NDAA). The defense bill provides funding authorization and policies to ensure America’s warfighters have the resources and support needed to ensure a strong national defense.
“The overwhelming and bipartisan passage of the NDAA demonstrates the critical importance of restoring our nation’s military readiness and making sure our warfighters have the edge as they serve us all,” said Graves. “We have to ensure that our military men and women have the resources, equipment, technology and support needed to maintain a defense posture that safeguards the American people against the dynamic tactics, threats and capabilities of her enemies.”
Five Graves amendments are included in the NDAA:
National Guard Emergency Response
Under this Graves amendment, states would be federally reimbursed in a timely manner when their National Guard members or units are deployed to other states to assist with response and recovery operations in the wake of disasters. The ability for disaster-stricken areas to benefit from National Guard capabilities in other states is invaluable, and states should be reimbursed for costs incurred because of their service. The current lack of clarity around reimbursements makes states apprehensive about deploying their National Guard in these cases. Graves’ amendment provides clarity so that response capabilities can be maximized more quickly to save more lives when disasters strike.
This provision does not change the way states respond to emergencies within their own borders. It simply assures that state National Guard members receive the same pay, benefits, and protections as their federal counterparts when responding to major national disasters that require a Presidential declaration like our 2016 flood, and Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
Cutting Waste and Reinvesting Savings to Benefit Our Warfighters
Previously, the Department of Defense agreed with a report that estimated $2 billion in administrative savings could be realized over the next 5 years if military commissaries and exchanges adopted more cost-effective operations and management practices. Graves authored an amendment requiring DoD to pursue these cost-saving changes without raising prices on our service members so that the $2 billion saved can be reinvested into the core mission of our nation’s military instead of being wasted on inefficient administrative functions.
Awarding the Vietnam Service Medal to Operation End Sweep Veterans
Under this Graves provision, the Secretary of the respective branch of the military would be given necessary flexibility to award the Vietnam Service Medal to participants of Operation End Sweep – a mission where American military members removed mines from inland waterways and other coastal areas near Haiphong, Vietnam following the Vietnam War. Because of procedural limitations, many Vietnam Veterans in Louisiana and across the nation who served valiantly in Operation End Sweep have been excluded from Vietnam Service Medal Recognition.
Giving Louisiana More Control Over Sediment Resources to Enhance Coastal Efforts
NDAA includes Graves language from a Natural Resources bill that would designate certain sediments, like those used for Louisiana’s coastal restoration and similar projects, as a strategic resource and critical to that nation’s infrastructure and national security. The provision would make Louisiana eligible for expedited permitting for sand resources and allow the state to manage those resources in way that complements restoration efforts.
Streamlining Buildings Procurement and Saving Taxpayer Dollars
This Graves amendment streamlines the process and cuts costs associated with federal building leases by removing unnecessary burdens for federal commercial leasing in certain cases.The amendment requires the Government Accountability Office to audit the application process for building procurement on a biennial basis to protect against fraud and abuse.