Congresswoman Kim Schrier, M.D.’s (WA-08) priorities to help local firefighters and military spouses passed the House in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA is annual legislation to maintain military readiness, enhance capabilities, and prioritize technological security.
“Washington state’s wildland firefighters are being asked to fight increasingly extreme wildfires with limited budgets, especially right now,” said Rep. Schrier. “The Department of Defense has two programs that transfer excess equipment like tools, trucks, and vehicle parts to the U.S. Forest Service to be distributed to states. My amendment will help these programs work better for volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue agencies in Washington State by taking community need and risk into account.”
The Department of Defense (DOD) Firefighter Property Program (FFP) and the Federal Excess Personal Property Program (FEPP) transfer excess equipment to states and other qualified entities. Equipment is offered on a first-come, first-served basis and does not take community need and risk into account. Rep. Schrier’s amendment requests an analysis of the program to ensure equipment is distributed efficiently where it is needed most. It also requires DOD to consult with State Foresters and other stakeholders throughout the process.
Rep. Schrier’s other amendment would make job opportunities more accessible to military spouses, who often have a difficult time finding long-term work because of frequent moves.
Rep. Schrier continued, “Military spouses continue to experience high levels of underemployment and unemployment. My amendment addresses issues and concerns from a series of military and veteran spouse listening sessions held throughout the state in 2019 by the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs and the Washington State Employment Security Department. This will expand opportunities for military spouses in the fields of education, software and coding, and companies with high levels of teleworking to ensure military spouses are matched with fulfilling and successful employment.”
“At this pivotal moment in our nation’s history, and in an increasingly divisive political climate, for the 60th consecutive year the Congress has proven that our constitutional obligation to ‘provide for the common defense’ is far more important than politics,” said Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. “I am incredibly proud of the work that the House Armed Services Committee was able to accomplish this year, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and strongly believe the FY21 NDAA is an excellent piece of legislation that delivers for our military. Thanks to the work of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, the bill we passed today supports our troops, reflects our values, and provides for a strong national defense.”
The 2021 Defense authorization provides a 3% pay raise for troops, includes $1 billion for a Pandemic Preparedness and Resilience National Security Fund, and takes action to protect military families from PFAS. Additionally, it includes two amendments in response to recent events that would require federal law enforcement officers to be identifiable when they are in uniform and provide transparency when a President deploys active duty military within the United States.
The above is a press release from the office of Congresswoman Kim Schrier, M.D. (D-8-CD) . The Auburn Examiner has not independently verified its contents and encourages our readers to personally verify any information they find may be overly biased or questionable. The publication of this press release does not indicate an endorsement of its contents.