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Rep. Jackson Secures Major Victories for TX-13 in National Defense Authorization Act Markup

WASHINGTON — Congressman Ronny Jackson (TX-13) championed Texas’ defense priorities during the House Armed Services Committee’s Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) markup yesterday. Jackson issued the following statement in support of the legislation, which passed out of committee by a vote of 57-2. The NDAA will be considered on the House Floor in the coming weeks.

Jackson said: “From serving in the Navy for 29 years to playing a role in military funding and policy decisions, participating in my first NDAA markup was a full circle experience. Representing our district’s defense interests in Congress is a top priority for me, so I am proud to announce that I led and advocated for many legislative victories that will keep our district at the forefront of the national defense conversation for generations to come. The full House will soon vote on the 61st consecutive NDAA, and I urge my colleagues to join me in support of this traditionally bipartisan legislation that will ensure America’s military readiness and competitiveness on the global stage.”

Topline Wins:

  • Builds on President Trump’s work to ensure the U.S. is the most dominant military force in the world
  • Raises pay by 2.7% for both military servicemembers and the Department of Defense (DoD) civilian workforce
  • Authorizes $778B in total defense spending, an increase from President Biden’s proposed $753B which was a budget cut from current spending levels and was rejected on a bipartisan basis
  • Continues to modernize the U.S. nuclear triad, which is important as every nuclear weapon in the arsenal is assembled at Pantex in Amarillo

Key wins for TX-13 and quotes from local leaders are below.

Modernizes the Nuclear Triad:
Pantex in Amarillo is one of the most important facilities for national security given its critical mission. Jackson secured funding and legislative authority for the safety, security, and reliability of our nuclear stockpile, delivery systems, and infrastructure. Pantex has a central role in any modernization effort regarding America’s nuclear enterprise, and this NDAA will ensure that is the case for decades to come.

Funds High Explosive Synthesis, Formulation, and Production Facility at Pantex:
Jackson worked to include authorization for full, on-schedule funding for a new facility at Pantex to ensure the safety of the nuclear mission that is conducted there. This project will guarantee that Amarillo remains a critical part of the U.S. nuclear security enterprise.

Supports Workforce in Amarillo:
Jackson authored language to hold the National Nuclear Security Administration accountable for unnecessary delays in management and operation (M&O) contracts. Such delays cause uncertainty in employment status at Pantex, and Jackson’s language will prevent this in the future.

Jackson also succeeded in authorizing funds for defense programs conducted in the Texas Panhandle. This funding will prevent layoffs and ensure more projects in the short term so that TX-13 is competitive for DoD contracts in the long term.

Continues Future Vertical Lift:
Jackson advocated for funding that was approved for the Army’s pursuit of a Future Vertical Lift program to replace some of the Army’s existing portfolio of rotary wing assets. He also authored language to ensure that Amarillo is a part of these efforts.

Expedites Nacelle Improvement:
Included in the FY22 NDAA is critical funding for upgrades and modernization efforts for the Air Force’s CV-22 aircraft, specifically for Nacelle Improvements. Jackson authored language to accompany the funding to encourage other military departments to undertake similar efforts, specifically calling on the Secretary of the Navy to brief the House Armed Services Committee on these upgrades. This work will be conducted in Amarillo.

Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson said: “Representative Jackson has continually shown strong support for Amarillo’s defense programs and their positive impact on our local economy. His work here includes full, on-schedule funding for a new facility at Pantex, ensuring employees at Pantex have stability and assurances anytime there is a transition of their M&O contract, and the modernization of rotary aircraft across the Department of Defense. These projects make certain that work is coming to Amarillo now and for years to come. I am grateful to him for ensuring that Amarillo’s contribution to the defense of our great nation is both recognized and secure.”

Amarillo Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jason Harrison said: “We want to thank Congressman Jackson for his continued support of Amarillo by championing for our entire business community, but specifically for some of our largest employers and partners like Pantex and Bell that are not only critical to the panhandle’s workforce, but also the security of the country as a whole.  It is through his hard work that we are able to continue to grow and build a successful community for everyone.”

Wichita Falls:
Elaine M. Checketts Military Families Act:
Jackson’s bill was included in the House version of the NDAA. This legislation allows servicemembers to keep pre-approved family leave in the tragic event of a child’s death. The military’s current policy terminates servicemembers’ family leave if their child passes away, and Jackson’s bill will rectify this issue.

Servicemember Safety and Security Improvement Act:
Jackson’s bill was included in the House version of the NDAA. This legislation will ensure the safety of servicemembers by improving communication and cooperation between military commanders and local law enforcement.

Pilot Training at Sheppard Air Force Base:
Funding was authorized for the new fighter trainer aircraft that will be flown at Sheppard Air Force Base. Jackson included a provision to help ensure that the development of the new fighter trainer is not delayed and remains on track for delivery. Additional language authored by Jackson highlights the need to preserve military training routes by mitigating the impact of wind energy projects.

Sheppard Air Force Base Child Development Center:
One of the first things Jackson did as a Member of Congress was visit Sheppard. After meeting and touring with base leadership, he understood how important it was for Sheppard to get a new child development center. Since it was not included in the Air Force’s plans last year, Jackson immediately began engaging Air Force leadership by sending a letter to then-Acting Secretary Roth urging him to include it in the President’s Budget Request.

Ultimately, Jackson’s efforts secured full funding of $20M to authorize military construction for a new child development center at Sheppard. He also authored language urging the Department to prioritize such projects and to better support working military families.

Support for Educators in Defense Communities:
In June, Jackson introduced the Defense Community Teacher Support Act to recruit teachers to military impacted schools in the Wichita Falls ISD near Sheppard. To further these efforts, Jackson included language in the NDAA to direct the Secretary of Defense to provide information to Congress on how to improve recruitment and retention of teachers in military impacted communities, such as Wichita Falls. Jackson’s collaborative effort will recruit some of the best teachers in the country to military communities.

Wichita Falls Mayor Stephen Santellana said: “Being the mayor of a military community requires that we work with our other elected officials to protect the interest of our military community and our local citizens. Congressman Ronny Jackson has worked with local leaders as well as leadership from Sheppard Air Force Base to make sure that the needs of both communities are met and protected. Whether it was working for increased pay for our local heroes or advocating for our new child development center, Congressman Jackson has been able to leverage his experience, relationships, and hard work into building up our military community and securing a future for Sheppard Air Force Base. I cannot thank Congressman Jackson enough for what he has accomplished on our behalf.  The citizens of Wichita Falls are extremely lucky to have him as our leader and representative. We all look forward to continued success and to a prosperous future for all. TX -13 couldn’t be in better hands.”

Sheppard Military Affairs Committee President Glenn Barham said: “Congressman Jackson has been a champion for Sheppard Air Force Base since taking office in January, and the wins he was able to secure in this year’s House Armed Services Committee NDAA markup is strong evidence of that. Servicemembers at Sheppard will feel the impact of his work for generations to come. For example, Congressman Jackson has ensured that Sheppard is a premier pilot training base by including funding for the new fighter trainer and authoring language to help mitigate the impact that wind farms have on military training routes. I am also very pleased that he was able to secure the authorization for full military construction funding for Sheppard’s new child development center. I know I speak for the Committee when I say we are proud to have him representing our interests in Washington.”

Since Kabul fell to Taliban terrorists on President Biden’s watch, Biden has actively worked in coordination with the Taliban. Sadly, the Taliban now holds more leverage as American citizens are trapped behind enemy lines and as billions worth of military equipment is now in terrorist’s hands. Americans are now concerned that Biden will continue to utilize American resources to support the Taliban. To combat this threat, Jackson authored an amendment to prohibit the transport of currency or any item of value to the Taliban. This amendment was adopted unanimously.

Jackson also authored language to help ensure we never witness a misguided withdrawal effort ever again. Jackson’s language will help provide oversight of the DoD when withdrawing troops from a country by urging a plan be issued to Congress at the earliest possible time.

Jackson included language in the NDAA that underscores the threat posed by Iranian proxy terrorist organizations. His language will require the Secretary of Defense to report to Congress a description of how the military capabilities of Iran-backed militias are improving. This comes as President Biden continues to loosen sanctions on the rogue Iranian regime even though they wish death to America.

Jackson included multiple provisions in the NDAA to address the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party. Building on his efforts from earlier in the year to stop American investment in Chinese military companies, Jackson had an amendment included to advance this initiative. Further, Jackson authored a provision that will hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for its efforts to spy on critical infrastructure like agricultural systems and supply chains.