Congressman Garamendi Votes for Defense Authorization Bill, Includes Resources for Troops and Repeal of DADT, Garamendi Amendments Bolster Travis AFB and National Labs in Livermore
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA), today voted for H.R. 5136, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011, which authorizes more than $720 billion for America’s defense budget. Garamendi was appointed to the House Armed Services Committee earlier this month.
Help for our Soldiers
"The National Defense Authorization Act takes needed steps to protect and assist our men and women in uniform," said Representative Garamendi. "This bill includes a 1.9 percent pay raise for our troops, extends TRICARE health coverage to the children of military families up to the age of 26, provides necessary armor and protective vehicles to troops in combat, adds significant safeguards to protect female soldiers from sexual assault, modernizes DOD schools, and increases the maximum amount of hostile fire and imminent danger pay available to our soldiers."
Support for Travis Air Force Base and the Livermore Labs
The NDA includes two amendments authored by Rep. Garamendi. In an amendment similar to Congressman Garamendi’s recently introduced technology transfer bill, H.R. 5262, the defense authorization requires that the National Nuclear Security Administration, subject to appropriations, create technology transfer centers to enable public research to advance private enterprise and job creation at America’s national laboratories, including Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories.
"Our national labs are at the forefront of major scientific breakthroughs, many of which can be used in the private sector to develop new industries and create new jobs," said Rep. Garamendi. "With my amendment, our defense budget now explicitly includes an expectation that whenever possible, our national labs will use their research to help develop American business. Today, we’re one step closer on the road to the Livermore Valley Open Campus."
In an earmark requested by Congressmen Garamendi, George Miller, and Mike Thompson, Travis Air Force Base will receive $387,000 for the design of new Base Civil Engineer (BCE) maintenance and supply facilities to modernize buildings throughout the base.
"Travis Air Force Base will make good use of this money, bringing Travis headlong into the 21st century," Garamendi said. "These funds will enable the base to take the first step in weatherizing onsite buildings and investing in clean energy projects to help reduce the base’s carbon footprint and improve our nation’s energy security."
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
During floor debate, Garamendi was proud to vote for an amendment introduced by Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pennsylvania) that would permit the Department of Defense to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) once the Administration and Department of Defense finish their review of the policy in December. Since its creation in 1993, DADT has needlessly led to the dismissal of 13,500 service members solely on the basis of their sexual orientation. Almost 800 mission-critical troops and at least 59 Arabic and nine Farsi linguists have been dismissed under DADT in the last five years.
"So long as we permit the continued discrimination of the LGBT community in our armed services, thousands of current and future military personnel will be forced to choose between isolation or rejection," Garamendi said. "Soldiers brave enough to don the uniform should be able to be honest about their sexual orientation. It has long past come time to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell."