WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to advance the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) to invest in the future capabilities of the United States and confront the unprecedented challenges facing the nation at home and abroad. The bill authorizes $839 billion in discretionary spending for national defense for FY 2023, while making significant quality of life improvements for service members and their families and promoting innovation and emerging technologies. A bipartisan amendment led by Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05) to review and improve digital resources on behavioral health and suicide prevention for military members was included in the final text.
“Our national security policies must reflect our values – prioritizing the health, wellness, and safety of those sworn to defend our country. My amendment makes timely improvements to digital tools so service members may better access information on suicide prevention and behavioral health. When in crisis, these individuals need clear, up to date resources. The slightest delay or gap in information could be the difference between life and death,” said Congresswoman Hayes.
The Hayes Amendment is cosponsored by Reps. John Larson (CT-01), Sara Jacobs (CA-53), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Mike Waltz (FL-06), Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), and Elissa Slotkin (MI-08). Specifically, the amendment would:
- Require military departments to review all installation-level web information about suicide prevention and behavioral health and ensure contact information is up to date, certifying this to Congress annually.
The FY23 NDAA also included amendments co-led by Congresswoman Hayes to conduct oversight through data collection on food insecurity among active duty service members and to establish the Southern New England Regional Commission. Overall, the NDAA is designed to invest in people, technology, and all who serve.
Highlights of the FY23 NDAA include:
- Pay increases for service members and their families, including a 4.6% pay raise for service members and civilian personnel, 2.4% inflation bonuses for service members earning less than $45,000/year and a $15/hour minimum wage for workers on federal service and construction contracts.
- Supply chain security, including an assessment of dual-use technology that the Chinese Communist Party might exploit and improving risk management in DOD supply chains involving pharmaceutical products.
- Support for Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs) and other minority serving institutions, allocating over $111 million for research activities at HBCUs and establishing a pilot program to increase research capacity at minority-serving institutions.
- Civilian harm mitigation measures, reflecting the democratic values of the United States as a strategic and moral imperative by creating a U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Center for Excellence in Civilian Harm Mitigation.
- New investments in science and technology competitiveness, including $275 million in additional funding for next-generation capabilities in hypersonics, electronic warfare, artificial intelligence, and software.
- Resources for U.S. allies and partners, including $1 billion for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) and funding for the European Deterrence Initiative and Pacific Deterrence Initiative.
Congresswoman Jahana Hayes sits on the Committees on Education & Labor and Agriculture and proudly represents Connecticut’s 5th District. She was a public school teacher in Connecticut for more than 15 years and was recognized in 2016 as the National Teacher of the Year.