House Republicans to Pass NDAA, Funding Critical National Defense Programs

May 18, 2016

us capitol

This afternoon, House Republicans will pass the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (NDAA). The NDAA provides critical funding to provide our men and women in uniform with the tools they need to ensure our national defense and address the threats to our national security. Among the highlights of this important legislation:

  • Continues the prohibition against the transfer of the dangerous terrorists held at GITMO to facilities on U.S. soil.
    • President Obama’s latest plan calls for the relocation to U.S. soil of nearly 60 terrorists who face trial by military commission or have been deemed too dangerous to release.
    • An administration official has confirmed that prisoner transfers from Gitmo have already resulted in the deaths of Americans.
    • The list of terrorists remaining at GITMO includes some of the most dangerous captured by U.S. forces, including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed.
  • Authorizes funding to support the fight against ISIS.
  • Provides a 2.1% pay increase for military personnel.
  • Prohibits a new round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).
  • Creates new protections for victims of military sexual assaults.
  • Provides $30 million in funding for the Impact Aid program, which provides supplementary support for the education of nearly 600,000 children of servicemembers.
  • Provides $34 million for science programs at historically black colleges and universities ($10 million more than requested by President Obama).
  • Requires the Department of Defense to develop methodologies to increase suicide prevention and provide additional mental health resources to high risk servicemembers.
  • Requires the Department of Defense to report on the availability and procurement of female specific equipment, including helmets, body armor, and combat boots for women in the military.
  • Increases funding for Israeli cooperative missile defense to $600 million.


Pentagon’s Guantanamo closing plan lays out costs, savings. “The plan, which will be delivered to Congress Tuesday, is the administration’s last-ditch effort to make good on President Barack Obama’s campaign vow to close Guantanamo and convince lawmakers to allow the Defense Department to move nearly 60 detainees to the U.S…There are currently 91 detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Of those, 35 are expected to be transferred out by this summer. The rest are either facing trial by military commission or have been determined to be too dangerous to release but are not facing charges.” (Deb Riechmann and Donna Cassata, Associated Press, 2/23/16)

Who is Left at Guantanamo? “Seven inmates have been charged with war crimes in Guantanamo’s military commissions, the judicial system set up by the Bush administration and tweaked by the Obama administration. They include Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the alleged organizer of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and his four alleged co-conspirators.” (Marina Koren, The Atlantic, 5/12/16)

Americans ‘Died Because of’ Released Gitmo Detainees: Pentagon Official. “Americans ‘have died because of’ detainees released from the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, a Defense Department official said Wednesday. The comments, from special envoy Paul Lewis, came during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, and may provide more fuel for critics of President Obama’s long-anticipated plan to shutter the prison, which he announced last month. During the hearing, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., asked Lewis how many people had died because of ‘terrorists who went back to their terrorist activity.’ When Lewis responded that he would prefer to discuss the matter in a ‘classified setting,’ Rohrabacher pressed him, asking if it was ‘over 10.’ ‘Sir, what I can tell you is unfortunately there have been Americans that have died because of Gitmo detainees,’ Lewis said.” (Tim Stelloh, NBC News, 3/23/16)

H.R. 4909 – National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017