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United States : Garamendi Secures Wins for Climate Change, Military Housing, and More in Annual Defense Authorization.

Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA), Chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee within the House Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement after he voted in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020. The bill will now be conferenced with the Senates version of the legislation.

This legislation includes the largest pay raise for our service members in a decade, and as Chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee I fought to include the strongest possible language to:

Require the military to mitigate climate change and reduce energy consumption, Address the privatized military housing crisis that was forcing many service members and their families into substandard living conditions on bases throughout the country, Expand health care services for service members and veterans experiencing medical issues as a result of exposure to toxic hazards during their service, Support and expand the missions at Beale and Travis AFBs.

I will fight to preserve these critical provisions as the House and Senate conference their versions of the bill in the coming weeks, Garamendi said. The House version of the NDAA still includes every amendment Garamendi secured through the Armed Services Committees initial markup of the legislation. Additionally, Garamendi successfully added two additional amendments to the bill on the House floor. An overview of the language Garamendi successfully included is listed below:

Combat the Climate Crisis:

Climate change is one of the greatest threats we face as a civilization. The U.S. military is the largest institutional consumer of oil in the world, and one of my focuses as Chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee has been to ensure the U.S. military is prepared to respond to climate change and be an ally in the fight to end the global climate crisis. This markup takes unprecedented steps to empower the military to address climate change and reduce its energy consumption, Garamendi continued.

The legislation addresses climate change by:

Requiring the development of installation master plans that assess current climate vulnerabilities and plan for mitigating the risks to installations from extreme weather events, mean sea level fluctuation, wildfires, flooding, and other changes in environmental conditions. Limiting the Department of Defenses ability to spend planning and design funds until it initiates the process of amending the building standards for military construction (Unified Facility Criteria) to ensure that building practices and standards promote energy, climate, and cyber resilience at military installations. Requiring all proposals for military construction projects to consider potential long-term changes in environmental conditions, increasingly frequent extreme weather events, and industry best-practices to withstand extreme weather events. Requiring the Department of Defense to report on the feasibility of transitioning installation planning from 100-year floodplain data to a forward-looking predictive model that takes the impacts of sea-level rise into account.

Support Veterans and Service Members Seeking Health Services:

The markup language also includes the full text of the OATH Act, legislation that Garamendi introduced to ensure active duty military personnel and veterans can accurately document any toxins they were exposed to while deployed, so they can receive VA treatment for any health issues stemming from that exposure.

Garamendi introduced the bill in the House of Representatives this May, and successfully attached the legislation as an amendment to the NDAA. Our service members and veterans deserve the best care available and to have their medical records accurately reflect any Occupational and Environmental Health hazards they have been exposed to during their service to our great country, Garamendi said. Currently, active duty members and veterans are unable to make disability claims with the Veterans Administration based on exposure to toxic hazards such as mold, chemicals, and open-air burn pits because those exposures are not tracked in their medical records. This bill will change that and provide our nations service members with the support they deserve, and Im incredibly pleased it has been added to the NDAA. This will greatly increase the OATH Acts chances of becoming law.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Jul 16, 2019
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