Office of Rep. Marilyn Strickland announcement.
Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10), a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed S. 1605, the bipartisan, bicameral text of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022 by a vote of 363-70. The NDAA includes over ten provisions Strickland secured to support servicemembers and their families at Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM) and across our nation to address housing security, hunger, and more.
“Investments in military personnel and their families are an investment in our nation’s readiness. Every defense budget must demonstrate that we value servicemembers and their families, like those at Joint Base Lewis McChord, who sacrifice so much to keep us safe and secure,” said Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10). “I am pleased to have secured several provisions in this year’s NDAA to address housing security, hunger, and help all servicemembers and their families thrive. The wins in this agreement will serve as a strong foundation to build on as we continue to address housing in high-cost regions, food insecurity, racial equity, extremism and more. As this agreement heads to the Senate, I’m proud to have worked with Chairman Smith and my colleagues to advance a defense budget that supports our national security, military survivors of sexual trauma, a much-deserved pay increase for servicemembers, and critical steps forward to address housing and hunger issues.”
“I am proud that this year’s NDAA will include transformational policy reforms that will benefit our service members and their families, take on the military sexual assault crisis, and deliver results for other national security priorities of the American people. I want to thank Congresswoman Strickland for her tireless work in our Committee to ensure a defense bill which addresses crucial needs of servicemembers and their families, including military hunger, housing security and other priorities, in Washington and across our nation,” said Chairman Adam Smith (WA-9). “Expeditious passage of S. 1605 by the Senate and signature by President Biden will strengthen our national security by giving these critical reforms the force of law.”
Several Strickland priorities were included in the bicameral, bipartisan FY22 NDAA agreement, which passed the House yesterday, ten of which are listed below:
- Basic Need Allowance for Servicemembers – The bill contained compromise language related to the Military Hunger and Prevention Act which Congresswoman Strickland co-led. The compromise language authorizes the Secretary of Defense to pay a basic needs allowance to a qualified service member. This is the first step in tackling food insecurity among servicemembers and military families, but this is only the first step.
- Supporting an Equitable Housing Allowance For Military Families: Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is a U.S. based allowance intended to provide uniformed Service members equitable housing compensation based on housing costs in local civilian housing markets. Strickland’s amendment would commission a study that would determine whether BAH is currently sufficient to support the average family size for servicemembers disaggregated by Armed Force, rank, and military housing area.
- Supporting off-base housing solutions by examining the Rental Partnerships Program: Strickland’s amendment directs the Department of Defense to evaluate the Rental Partnership Program, which provides off-base housing information and resources, including participation and awareness of the program among servicemembers and their families, and whether Congress should provide dedicated funding for the program.
- Shielding servicemembers from unreimbursed moving expenses: Servicemembers and their families move every 2-3 years and military families can spend thousands of dollars on moving expenses, some of which are not reimbursable. Strickland’s amendment directs the Secretary of Defense to submit a report on unreimbursed moving expenses incurred by members of the Armed Forces and their families by branch, rank, and military housing area, examine the root causes of the unreimbursed expenses, and establish a policy regarding this issue.
- Examining Wait Times for On-Base Housing: Strickland’s amendment responds to the wait times military families are experiencing to get into housing at JBLM and on bases located in competitive housing markets across our nation, and directs the Department of Defense to provide a briefing on wait times for housing located on military installations in competitive housing markets, create a strategy to address housing demand, and determine the threshold for acceptable wait times.
- Connecting Military Families with Local Nonprofit Services: Within many communities near military installations there are nonprofit providers who can assist military families find affordable housing and provide other necessary wraparound services. However, families are not always aware of these services, or may have trouble accessing them. Strickland’s amendment directs the Secretary of Defense to submit a report on how and the extent to which commanders of military installations connect military families with local nonprofits and government entities that provide services to the military, including assistance with housing.
- Examining Temporary Lodging Reimbursements when relocating to competitive housing markets: Strickland’s amendment directs the Secretary of Defense to submit a report regarding the extent to which military families are aware of and access Joint Travel Regulation reimbursements when searching for new housing ahead of a Permanent Change of Station. It also examines whether giving servicemembers and their spouses a maximum of 10 days reimbursement per diem is appropriate based on the time it takes to secure housing in highly competitive housing markets, such as the area around JBLM.
- Supporting Military Spouse Employment and Addressing Employment Discrimination: Strickland’s amendment requires a report on employment discrimination against military spouses in the civilian job market and any policy solutions that could prevent such discrimination.
- Securing $4.8 million for Procurement Technical Assistance Programs (PTACs) – This funding will help the Thurston County Economic Development Council and other programs across our nation as they support businesses pursuing contracts with the Department of Defense, other federal agencies, state and local governments and with government prime contractors.
- Supporting Local Employers – Congresswoman Strickland supported language that ensured that advanced degaussing system is incorporated into any Arleigh Burke class destroyer procured in fiscal year 2025 or any subsequent fiscal year pursuant to a covered contract.
The FY2022 NDAA also:
- Secures a 2.7 percent pay increase for servicemembers
- Expands parental leave, child care, and improves mental health care services
- Makes historic and significant changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice to combat sexual assault and related crimes in the military
- Invests in Historically Black Colleges and Universities to help build a more diverse Armed Services
- Makes key investments to address the threat of climate change and bolster energy resiliency.
A summary of the provisions in the FY22 NDAA is available here.
Strickland is a strong advocate for servicemembers, military families, defense communities, and veterans in Congress. Strickland co-led the introduction of the bipartisan Military Hunger Prevention Act to help low-income military families living with food insecurity make ends meet. In June, Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland co-led the entire bipartisan Washington House delegation in sending a letter urging the US Department of Veterans Affairs to take immediate action to resolve the systemic issues plaguing the veterans’ health care system. In May, Strickland made a statement to the Veterans Affairs Committee, to shine a light on the delays and communications breakdowns that veterans living in Washington’s 10th Congressional District are experiencing through the VHA’s Community Care program. In March, Strickland co-led a letter to President Biden urging a boost in funding for the Defense Community Infrastructure Program (DCIP), which would enable investments to enhance military family quality of life, resilience, or military value – including at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. In July, Strickland secured inclusion of $75 million in funding for DCIP in the FY22 Defense Appropriations bill. She also led her fellow Korean American Members of Congress in introducing legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to Colonel Young Oak Kim in recognition of his extraordinary heroism, leadership, and humanitarianism.