Blaine's Bulletin

December 16, 2022

For Immediate Release | Contact: Georgeanna Sullivan (202) 225-2956

Last week, the House passed the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This is one of Congress’ most important jobs each year, as this bill funds our nation’s military. America’s warfighters and military members sacrifice so much for this country, the least we can do in return is make sure they have everything they need to do their jobs.

This year, the NDAA included one of the most notable provisions to date, but one I’m disappointed even needed to be included in the first place. It removed the grossly misguided vaccine requirement for our nation’s military. You may remember that roughly 3,400 servicemembers were discharged for refusing the COVID-19 vaccination. It’s as unbelievable as it is shameful. This bill put an end to it. The bill also calls on the Department of Defense to reinstate and provide full benefits to the soldiers who were discharged.

The NDAA includes several other noteworthy provisions to help our military do their jobs and make life easier in this difficult economy. First and foremost, it provides servicemembers with a 4.6% pay raise and improved benefits for their families. For example, housing allowances for military families have been expanded to help them deal with the effects of inflation. Life has been historically expensive for families across America over the last two years, and our military families sacrifice more than enough as it is. I’m very proud this bill was designed to help ease the burden some. The NDAA will also fund investments in weapons and defense systems so our military can have the most up to date technology possible to do their jobs and defend this country. The manner in which wars are fought continues to evolve, and it’s imperative our military has the tools they need to stay ahead of the curve to keep our nation safe.

With the Lake of the Ozarks – more shoreline than the state of California – and large parts of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers flowing through the Third District, I always want to make sure our waterways and surrounding infrastructure are taken care of. The Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA) is a yearly vehicle for things like this. And this year, some WRDA provisions were actually included in the NDAA including authorization for a pilot program to address erosion along the Missouri River, much-needed wastewater improvements in Cole County, and infrastructure updates along our waterways. These might not sound terribly exciting but shoring up our water resources is a necessary way to invest in our district. Water and flooding affect everything and everyone in our state, from families, to farmers, to towns along a shoreline that rely on it to do business. Ensuring our state’s water resources and the surrounding development are operating properly and safely are always important to me.

The passage of bipartisan legislation is hard to come by in Washington, D.C. in this day and age, but the NDAA is a bill that both sides have traditionally come together on because of its importance. I’m proud the House and Senate have both done that, and now this bill heads to the President’s desk for signature to provide our military and their families with the support they need.

CONTACT US: I encourage you to visit my official website or call my offices in Jefferson City (573-635-7232) Washington, Mo. (636-239-2276), or Wentzville (636-327-7055) with your questions and concerns. If you want even greater access to what I am working on, please visit my YouTube siteFacebook page, and keep up-to-date with Twitter and Instagram.