This week the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2500, FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included many priorities led by NDC Members both on and off the Armed Services Committee. Ensuring the safety and security of our country and all Americans is a fundamental responsibility of Congress. New Democrat Coalition Members were proud to support the passage of this year’s defense authorization which gives our service members what they need to be successful in their mission.
This responsible national defense authorization bill authorizes the funding needed for a strong, smart national defense strategy. It lays out our priorities to defend our nation, protect our interests abroad, and, most importantly, support our troops.
NDC Members also sent a letter to Ambassador Robert Lighthizer urging him to continue working with NDC and the Speaker’s NAFTA Working Group to resolve outstanding concerns. More on what Members have been up to below.
- NDC Chair Derek Kilmer released a statement after the House passed the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. This bill authorizes the funding needed for a strong, smart national defense strategy and lays out priorities to defend our nation, protect our interests abroad, and support our troops.
- Chair Kilmer said: “Ensuring the safety and security of our country and all Americans is a fundamental responsibility of Congress. New Democrat Coalition Members were proud to support the passage of this year’s defense authorization which gives our service members what they need to be successful in their mission. The bill is a step towards reaffirming American leadership in the world, and meets our obligations to service members when they transition back to civilian life, as well as to their families. The New Dems want to recognize our coalition member Adam Smith, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, for his extraordinary leadership throughout this process.”
- NDC Chair Derek Kilmer, Vice-Chair Suzan DelBene, and Trade Task Force Co-Chairs Ron Kind, Rick Larsen, Gregory Meeks, and Lizzie Fletcher sent a letter to Ambassador Robert Lighthizer urging him to continue working with NDC and the Speaker’s Working Group to resolve Democratic concerns that must be addressed in order to ensure successful, bipartisan support and passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Read the full letter here. Read more about the letter in The Hill, Politico, Bloomberg, and Inside US Trade.
- Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) introduced the Ensuring Conditions are Humane by Oversight (ECHO) Act, a bill that would help ensure the Office of Inspector General (OIG) personnel can perform surprise inspections of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) migrant facilities when located on military bases. The bill would require the Secretary of Defense to coordinate with the DHS and HHS Secretaries to create a suitable protocol to allow OIG access onto bases.
- Rep. Donna Shalala (FL-27) introduced the Protecting Job Opportunities for Borrowers Act (Protecting JOBs Act) to prevent states from being able to suspend, revoke, or otherwise deny professional licenses solely due to borrowers falling behind on their student loan payments.
- Reps. Lucy McBath (GA-06), Cindy Axne (IA-03), and Sharice Davids (KS-03) introduced the Relief for Defrauded Students Act of 2019 to make the borrower defense rule permanent and allow for student loan relief in cases of misconduct by institutions. Rep. Davids held a roundtable to learn more about the impact student loan debt is having on her constituents. Watch more about the roundtable here.
- Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) introduced the Short-Term Detention Standards Act to require by law that the Administration provides the full range of basic necessities to migrants in short-term custody, including access to bathroom and shower facilities, water, appropriate nutrition, hygiene, personal grooming items, and sanitation needs. Watch more on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and read her op-ed in The Lansing State Journal.
- Rep. Stephanie Murphy (FL-07) introduced bipartisan legislation requiring the Department of Homeland Security to notify state and local officials, certain Members of Congress, and potentially affected voters when federal agencies identify an election system breach.
- Rep. Darren Soto (FL-09) introduced bipartisan legislation to provide equal access to federal resources for Medicaid to American Citizens living in U.S. territories. H.R. 3631, the Territories Health Care Improvement Act, increases the limit on Medicaid payments and the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage for the five U.S. territories: Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and Northern Mariana Islands. It also sets stipulations to implement integrity and reporting measures for the programs.
- Rep. Colin Allred (TX-32) spoke out in support of American families and their access to health care as oral arguments began in the Texas v. United States lawsuit. Watch his remarks at the Democratic Caucus press conference here.
- Rep. Elaine Luria (VA-02) toured the Hampton Roads area and highlighted the extreme flooding the area has undergone and address the serious impacts to infrastructure and military installations. Read more about NDC’s infrastructure listening tour across America.
- Rep. Seth Moulton (MA-06) and Lori Trahan (MA-03) issued a call for Congress to invest in infrastructure that prevents sewage overflow, which threatens the Merrimack River and watersheds across the nation. They have introduced two bills to address the problem: the STOP CSO Act, which would create an alert system to inform the public within four hours if a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) event occurred, and the Stop Sewage Overflow Act to fund new infrastructure: “We’re committed to focusing on Congress’s attention on this from every angle. And we’re going to keep working on this issue until Congress builds a new generation of infrastructure that better serves our region.”
- Rep. Houlahan (PA-06) stood alongside state and industry stakeholders to discuss her infrastructure priorities for her community in Pennsylvania. She stood in front of Reading’s Penn Street Bridge, a “poor-rated” bridge that carries high volumes of commuters over the Schuylkill River.
- Rep. Marc Veasey (TX-33) penned an op-ed in The Dallas Morning News which addressed the cruel conditions migrants and asylum seekers are facing along the U.S.-Mexico border. He urged his colleagues in Congress to ensure this mistreatment is no longer tolerated: “Beyond retribution, we in Congress must ensure that cruelty toward children is never part of U.S. immigration policy. After my visit to the border, I am even more determined to ensure that America creates an immigration system worthy of our values and traditions.”
- Rep. Steven Horsford (NV-04) spoke at the Black Maternal Health Summit. The U.S. is the only country in the developed world with an increasing infant mortality rate. Black women are nearly 4 times more likely than white women—and more than twice as likely as women of other races—to die from preventable, pregnancy-related complications.
- Rep. David Trone (MD-06) joined forces with celebrity chef Bryan Voltaggio on a summer food tour where they visited schools and summer meal sites in his district to distribute food to students as a part of the United States Department of Agriculture’s summer food service program. Trone also held two roundtable discussions with state and local leaders about child nutrition programs.
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