Golden Secures Priorities for Nat’l Security, Bath Shipbuilders, Servicemembers and their Families in Annual Defense Spending Bill
WASHINGTON — The conference report of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) — the final version of the legislation — passed the House last night. The legislation contained a number of Congressman Jared Golden’s (ME-02) priorities for American national security, Maine shipbuilders, and servicemembers and their families. Golden was a member of the conference committee that produced the report and secured the important provisions over nearly a year of work on the House Armed Services Committee.
“I’m proud to continue working with Democrats and Republicans to ensure our nation’s servicemembers have what they need to defend this country,” said Golden. “Whether that’s vehicles and equipment, like Bath-built ships, or providing a pay raise for our troops, this bill supplies crucial support for a variety of issues critical to our national security and to Maine.”
The legislation authorizes a new DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyer to be constructed at Bath Iron Works (BIW) and helps BIW compete for new work by encouraging a new multi-year procurement process for the DDG-51 Flight III.
The FY21 NDAA also makes permanent new Department of the Interior guidelines proposed by Golden and Senator Angus King (I-ME) allowing Gold Star Families to use federal land free of charge.
The bill contains other important provisions that increase annual pay for active duty servicemembers by 3 percent, provide additional benefits to veterans who have been harmed by exposure to Agent Orange, and support families in the military with better access to child care.
Other provisions Congressman Golden worked to secure in the conference report include:
- Protecting the KC-135 from retirement prior to 2023, ensuring a reliable fleet of aircraft for the ME Air National Guard;
- Changes to the Berry amendment to ensure greater domestic sourcing of DoD programs;
- Funding state-of-the-art innovative research and development at the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center; and
- Authorizing 93 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, protecting American air superiority and ensuring continued work for a variety of ME businesses that produce critical components for the aircraft.