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December 17, 2019

Aguilar’s Key Defense Provisions Head to President’s Desk

The Senate passed S. 1790, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020 after the bill was passed with bipartisan support in the House on December 11, 2019. In addition to authorizing military and defense spending for the upcoming fiscal year, this year’s NDAA establishes a twelve-week paid family leave policy for federal employees and provides a much-needed pay raise for military personnel. The bill also includes seven key provisions authored by Rep. Pete Aguilar. Aguilar’s amendments to the NDAA were first adopted in July 2019, when the House originally passed the bill. The NDAA also includes a provision to protect jobs from downsizing at March Air Reserve Base as a result of an amendment cosponsored by Rep. Aguilar. Of the seven amendments he offered, all were approved by the Senate and included in the final version of the bill, which will soon be signed into law by the president. Aguilar’s primary contributions to the new law include:

  • An amendment to expand the types of education military spouses can pursue using the tuition benefits offered under the Military Spouse Career Advancement Account to include Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees as well as technical and vocational training.
  • An amendment to ensure military service members are debriefed on how to file claims and where to send the necessary documents to receive veterans’ benefits as they transition to civilian life.
  • An amendment to prohibit the Department of Defense from participating in the deportation of service members or honorably discharged veterans with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
  • An amendment that directs the Department of Defense to provide guidance on how to apply for citizenship to immigrants who serve in the US Military and are transitioning to civilian life.
  • An amendment to allow students attending one or two-year certificate programs to qualify for the Department of Defense Cyber Scholarship Program.
  • An amendment to require a feasibility study on the use of FBI databases for the Department of Defense to screen for extremists who seek to enlist in the US military.
  • An amendment calling for budget experts to be present at Nuclear Weapons Council meetings to ensure costs are considered when decisions are made regarding the United States’ nuclear weapons programs.

“This year’s NDAA ensures our national security while reflecting our nation’s values. By making sure military families have access to the resources they need to succeed, helping our veterans transition into civilian life, protecting immigrants who risk their lives to serve our country, and providing a well-deserved pay raise to our troops, this bill will improve quality of life for our brave service members and their families. I’m grateful that my colleagues in both the House and Senate approved my amendments, and I look forward to seeing their effects now that they’ve become law,” said Aguilar.