U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, helped shepherd several amendments to a defense appropriations bill, including a Democratic-backed climate change measure, through the committee process.
She successfully got through three of her own measures, two dealing with military transfers and another with the selection of an East Coast missile defense site.
Fort Drum in Watertown is one of three locations the Department of Defense is considering for the missile defense site.
The climate change amendment that Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., introduced would require the Secretary of Defense to report to Congress within one year on risks to military installations combat readiness over the next 20 years as a result of climate change.
“I spoke with Jim Langevin who was the lead sponsor. I committed to supporting it, and I committed to help him garner Republicans,” Stefanik said in a telephone interview on Thursday. “And it passed by voice vote.”
Langevin issued a press release thanking Stefanik for her support on the climate change amendment and other measures that are part of the National Defense Authorization Act, which passed the House Armed Services Committee by a vote of 60-1 on Wednesday, after 14 hours of deliberations.
The legislation sets policy and spending levels for defense spending in the 2018 federal fiscal year.
It includes a 2.4 percent pay increase for military personnel, the largest pay increase in five years.
Stefanik successfully added to the overall legislation two bills she introduced dealing with military transfers.
“One of the challenges that spouses face when the active duty spouse goes through a permanent change of station is the continuity of their employment and education,” Stefanik said, referring to the two bills she attached to the defense spending legislation.
One bill provides increased flexibility for relocation of military spouses and children when a member of the military is transferred, and directs the Comptroller General to report to Congress recommending actions the Department of Defense can take assist families undergoing a permanent change of station.
The other bill would require the Department of Defense to reimburse military families for up $500 for professional licenses in a new state when a spouse moves with a military member being transferred, and would expedite the process of getting new professional licenses.
Stefanik added language of the overall bill to broaden criteria of the Department of Defense criteria for recommending an East Coast missile defense site to include local support for the site, availability of local work force and any other unique aspects of a prospective site, not just the environmental impact statement.
The measure requires the Department of Defense to announce its recommendation within 90 days of completing its review.
Stefanik said the legislation also includes measures she advocated for addressing cyber security and support for special operations forces.
The full House is expected to vote on the legislation in July, Stefanik said.
The Senate is working on its own defense spending bill.
Once both houses pass legislation, a joint conference committee will negotiate final legislation for consideration.