Office of Rep. Derek Kilmer announcement.
On Dec. 7, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) voted to support S. 1605 – National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 (NDAA). The bill authorizes funding for the Department of Defense and passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support.
“If you serve this country, Congress should have your back and invest in you and your family. I’m proud that this bill includes a number of measures to support our troops and their families,” said Rep. Kilmer. “In our region, we also have talented civilians doing vitally important work to keep our country safe, so I’m glad that we were able to include measures that benefit those workers and our region’s economy as well.”
Supporting Servicemembers and Federal Workers
The bill includes measures supported by Rep. Kilmer for American service members and their families, including a 2.7% pay increase for service members. The bill also authorizes increased funding for cleanup of drinking water on military bases contaminated by PFAS chemicals, continues to invest in improving the oversight and management of housing for military personnel and their families, makes improvements to sexual assault prevention and response programs, and makes improvements in military health care, including making it easier to make mental health appointments.
The legislation also includes numerous provisions to support federal workers. Of importance to Kitsap County, the bill includes an expansion of the rate of overtime pay authority for Department of Navy employees performing work outside the continental United States.
Kilmer said, “When our region’s shipyard workers work overtime, they should get paid overtime – including when they’re overseas. It shouldn’t take an act of Congress to make that the case – and for the foreseeable future, it won’t.”
Ensuring Fairness for Shipyard Workers
For decades, the Navy has sought to recruit and retain talented workers to public shipyards for critical positions in science and engineering using the Accelerated Promotion Program (APP). In 2016, the Navy suspended the program as it sought recertification from the Office of Personnel Management. Workers hired during that one-year gap in the program were adversely affected by the suspension, leading to lost pay and slower promotions compared to their other colleagues. To fix this issue, Rep. Kilmer authored an amendment that requests the Department of Defense Inspector General conduct an assessment on how to fairly compensate those workers.
Reducing Jet Noise
Over the past several years, Rep. Kilmer has pushed the Department of Defense to fund efforts to reduce the noise of the Navy’s EA-18G Growler through his work on the Appropriations Committee. In the NDAA, Rep. Kilmer also fought to provide additional funds for the Secretary of the Navy to continue developing technology that could be installed on Growler engines to reduce their noise.
Ensuring the Military is a Responsible Climate Partner
The NDAA ensures that the military makes progress toward being a responsible partner in fighting climate change. This year, the bill requires the DoD institute energy and water efficiency targets to promote sustainable resource use. It also requires the Department of Defense to incorporate consideration of the risks of extreme weather into certain existing Department of Defense strategies and planning documents.