WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger voted with a majority of the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a strong bill to authorize U.S. Department of Defense funding levels and help set the country’s national defense priorities.
The defense authorization package includes a bipartisan amendment introduced by Spanberger and U.S. Representative Mark Meadows (R-NC-11) to help the Department of Defense (DoD) stop the use of its internet network to possess or obtain child pornography. Specifically, the bill would upgrade the training and technical capacity of military criminal investigative organizations to confront the misuse of DoD computers, facilities, and equipment to access and trade child pornography. Spanberger and Meadows introduced a standalone version of this bipartisan amendment earlier this month.
“Our servicemembers are the most important component of a smart national security strategy, and they deserve the highest level of support we can give them. This bill provides the necessary tools, compensation, and training they need to perform their jobs effectively and to keep our nation safe. Additionally, it secures much-needed assistance for our military families, particularly to address unacceptable housing conditions and contaminated drinking water at some of our military bases,” said Spanberger. “I’m also proud to see my bipartisan amendment to combat child pornography included in this bill. These horrific crimes have no place on Defense Department-affiliated networks or anywhere in our country, and it’s encouraging to see a strong, bipartisan coalition in the fight against child exploitation and sexual abuse. I’ll keep fighting to make sure our amendment is considered by the U.S. Senate—and I’ll continue to make sure those who put on the uniform receive the funding, benefits, and support they need.”
The defense authorization bill also includes Spanberger’s amendment to examine the current use of military force abroad—and to review how the U.S. military determines which groups and individuals can be legally targeted around the world. Additionally, the legislation includes an amendment Spanberger cosponsored to prohibit the unauthorized use of military force in or against Iran.
Since arriving in the U.S. House, Spanberger has advocated for a reexamined, smart strategy toward future U.S. military and diplomatic engagement in the Middle East—while also making sure we continue to support our close allies and partners and to remain strongly committed to counterterrorism operations. Last month, she questioned the administration’s decision to circumvent Congress and to authorize a new emergency sale of high-tech arms to the Saudi-led coalition currently fighting Houthis in Yemen—and she joined a bipartisan group of House Members in introducing legislation that would halt these arms sales.
The Spanberger-supported defense authorization bill includes additional provisions that would strengthen support for U.S. servicemembers and their families, including:
- Giving American servicemembers the pay raise they deserve. The funding authorization includes a 3.1 percent pay raise for service men and women. This increase is equal to the pay raise requested by the President in his budget blueprint released earlier this year.
- Addressing unacceptable military housing conditions through increased oversight and accountability. The defense authorization bill would require the armed forces to establish a tenants’ bill for rights for residents in privatized military family housing. Additionally, the legislation would require the Defense Secretary to develop an assessment tool to identify and measure health and safety hazards in U.S. military housing around the world. Earlier this year, Spanberger helped introduce bipartisan legislation to increase accountability and oversight on private contractor-provided housing for military families.
- Reaffirming support for U.S. servicemembers and their families stationed in the Korean Peninsula. The House-passed defense authorization bill would emphasize the need to work with our allies to contain the North Korean threat, and it would prohibit troop reduction in South Korea below 28,000. On the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Spanberger has pushed for an engagement strategy with North Korea that mitigates the North Korean nuclear threat, reassures U.S. allies, lowers tensions, and protects U.S servicemembers and their families in the Asia-Pacific region.