(WASHINGTON) – Hoosier Rep. Jim Banks has been named to the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Committee, where he will fight for Indiana’s defense priorities.
The bipartisan, bicameral committee consists of 12 members and is responsible for reconciling differences between the current House NDAA and the Senate’s version. Once complete, the committee will refer the amended bill to both chambers for a final vote. Upon passage, the FY20 NDAA will be presented to the president for a signature to become law, authorizing the fiscal year funding level for our military.
Congressman Banks knows what the defense budget means for boots on the ground. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2014 and 2015.
Congressman Banks used that experience in June. He advocated for a strong NDAA, authorizing the needed 3-5% of budget growth above inflation for the DoD, restoring funding for low-yield nuclear weapons to prevent a strategic disadvantage, addressing the emergency at the southern border and proposes fixes to DOD-VA IT systems to improve information sharing between the two Departments.
Said Banks, “I am honored to fight for Hoosier concerns on the Conference Committee. In an era of great power competition, we don’t have time to slow-roll our military’s preparation for future conflicts. Anything less than what is requested by the U.S. military threatens to jeopardize our national security. I hope that we can come together and overcome the partisan politics that bogged down the House-passed NDAA and pass something closer to the nonpartisan Senate-passed NDAA with the traditional strong, bipartisan support of past NDAAs.”
Said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, “Not everyone may know this about Jim, but while he was a State Senator in Indiana, he took a leave of absence from elected office to deploy to Afghanistan and serve our nation abroad. His love of country cannot be denied, and his devotion to ensuring the safety of our citizens cannot be questioned. I have no doubt that Jim’s military background and experience on the HASC Committee have equipped him with the tools needed to make critical decisions that will continue to help empower our men and women in uniform.”
Said House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member, Mac Thornberry, “As a veteran, Congressman Banks brings an important perspective to our work at the House Armed Services Committee. I am glad he was tapped to help finalize the conference report and final bill that will put the warfighter first and build a stronger military and safer nation.”
Indiana Priorities and Key House NDAA National Security Provisions:
- Hypersonics Technology – Requires the Secretary of Defense to designate an official to lead the Joint Hypersonics Transition office, to include responsibilities for designating a university hypersonic consortium to support basic and applied research. Purdue and Notre Dame were mentioned as leaders in this space with advancements in wind tunnel technology.
- Funding for Sonobuoys – Fully supports the Navy’s requested funding for sonobuoys, many of which are produced in Columbia City, Indiana.
- Military Spouse License Reciprocity – Seeks to improve the portability of occupational licenses and certifications from state to state. This will help alleviate the burden military spouses bear when having to re-register a small business in a new state each time a service member gets reassigned to a military installation in a new state. The language is based on Congressman Banks’ Portable Certification of Spouses (PCS) Act of 2019.
- Interagency Program Office / Federal Electronic Health Record Modernization (FEHRM) – Sets qualification requirements for the Interagency Program Office / FEHRM director and deputy director, and instructs the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of Veterans Affairs to appoint them jointly. Aims to strengthen coordination between DoD and the Department of Veterans Affairs on electronic health records.