National Defense Authorization Act Passes House with Joyce Priorities

WASHINGTON, DC – Tonight, the FY22 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed the U.S. House of Representatives with the support of Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14). This critical legislation authorizes a 2.7% pay increase for U.S. servicemembers, authorizes $250 million to conduct counter terrorism operations in Afghanistan, and increases America’s topline defense budget by 5% over FY21 levels. Also included in the NDAA was Joyce’s legislation to improve parental leave benefits for members of the U.S. military as well as his amendment to address the threat posed by the Taliban’s illicit drug trade profits.

“At a time when we are facing new and emerging threats around the globe, from Afghanistan to the South China Sea, I was pleased to see Republicans and Democrats come together to produce a bill that fully funds America’s defense needs for the coming year,” said Joyce. “This critical bill includes my legislation to ensure U.S. servicemembers can enjoy the gift of parenthood without having to neglect their military careers as well as my amendment to combat the Taliban’s illegal drug trade and fully comprehend risks posed by the profits of such drugs.”

Specifically, Joyce’s FY22 NDAA amendment would require the Secretary of Defense in coordination with the Secretary of State and Secretary of Homeland Security to submit a report to Congress within one year that includes:

  • A plan to combat the Taliban’s illegal drug trade;
  • The risk to the United States of drugs emanating from such drug trade, including risks posed by the profits of such drugs; and
  • Any actions taken to interdict and prevent such drugs from reaching the United States.

The Servicemember Parental Leave Equity Act, which Joyce introduced alongside Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14), would improve parental leave benefits for America’s Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Guardians by:

  • Increasing caregiver leave to 12 weeks for both primary and secondary caregivers (for a total of 18 weeks of leave, including convalescent leave, for new birth mothers, comparable to what federal employees receive);
  • Authorizing parental leave to be taken for long-term placements of foster children;
  • Allowing both primary and secondary caregiver leave to be taken in multiple increments, as is allowed for federal employees;
  • Establishing nonchargeable leave for the secondary caregiver in the event of a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death;
  • Clarifying that the military’s 12-month postpartum deferment policy also applies to overnight travel, physically demanding training exercises, body composition standards, and the physical fitness test; and 
  • Improving the career intermission program to make it more attractive for servicemembers, including those who would use it for longer-term family caregiving.

“I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for recognizing that any funding stream supporting the Taliban poses a significant threat to the United States and that we should be giving our military members every possible opportunity to succeed, not making their service incompatible with starting a family,” said Joyce. “I urge my colleagues in the Senate to act quickly so we can fully fund America’s defense needs and support our courageous servicemembers.”

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