As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, I understand the need for robust military funding and the importance of strengthening military readiness. As terrorism continues to threaten our safety at home and abroad, we must plan for future threats on the horizon, and bolster security assistance and foreign aid to Israel, our closest ally in the Middle East.
Throughout my years in public service, I have fully supported efforts to strengthen health care benefits, educational assistance, and support services for military service members and their families. To protect military families, I also voted in support of H.R. 2500, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY 2020 NDAA), which provides a 3.1 percent pay raise for military service members, $9.83 billion for manufacturing 94 new aircraft in Georgia’s 13th District (F-35 and C-130J aircraft), and $32.9 billion for the Defense Health Program. This legislation also includes provisions to eliminate requirements that force surviving military spouses to forfeit their military Survivor Benefit Plan annuity after a veteran or service member dies of service-related causes (also known as the widow’s tax).
Our troops and their families deserve the best compensation, care, and benefits available. I have also voted in support of increased FY 2020 funding for biomedical research through the U.S. Department of Defense’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP). These research programs continue to provide millions of military service members and families with new, innovative treatments for prostate cancer, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), burn pit injuries, and infertility, as well as advancements in prosthetic care.
Earlier this year, the White House’s FY 2020 Proposed Budget included the proposed elimination of nearly 20,000 uniformed military medical personnel from the Defense Health Agency (DHA). In October 2019, these proposed budget cuts could force families living on or near military bases in rural areas to find other health care providers and pay high out-of-pocket costs for essential health care services. Disruptions in health care access of this magnitude are unacceptable, and I will continue to support efforts to stop these budget cuts from being implemented.
Given recent nuclear threats against the United States, Congress must ensure that the United States bolster its diplomatic efforts to avoid military conflict. I am committed to ending the war in Afghanistan and bringing all of our troops back home. We must only commit our young men and women into battle when all other means are exhausted, and only against those who attack us or pose an immediate threat to the safety of our nation.
As Congress continues its legislative agenda, I will continue to prioritize the needs and concerns of military service members and their families. We owe our military service members and families in Georgia the utmost respect and admiration for their courage, dedication, and sacrifice.