WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) issued the following statement after the House passed the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act for FY22. The NDAA that passed the House includes a pay raise for servicemembers, significant improvements to our country’s cybersecurity, and investments in new partnerships with the private sector and academia, including HBCUs and Minority-Serving Institutions. The bill also contains six provisions that Congressman Lieu authored including his amendment authorizing the VA to use collected funds to develop housing and services for homeless veterans at the West LA VA and his amendment to prohibit mid-air refueling of coalition aircraft in Yemen.
“I’m pleased that the House worked on a bipartisan basis to pass this year’s NDAA, as we have done consecutively for the past 60 years,” Rep. Lieu said. “This bill keeps Americans safe, strengthens support for our servicemembers and preserves Congress’s authority to hold the federal government accountable for its foreign policy decisions. Additionally, this bill contains six provisions that I authored, which I believe strengthen the United States and its role on the global stage and stops us from supporting endless wars in places like Yemen. As the legislative process continues, I look forward to championing these important provisions.”
Background on Rep. Lieu’s Amendments:
West LA VA Easements Amendment: Authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) to use any funds collected pursuant to leases, easements, civil asset forfeitures, or other use-agreements at the West LA VA for the development of supportive housing and services on campus for homeless veterans.
Yemen Refueling Prohibition Amendment: Extends an existing prohibition on mid-air refueling of non-U.S. aircraft participating in hostilities in the civil war in Yemen for two years.
City and State Diplomacy Amendment: Establishes an Office of City and State Diplomacy at the State Department and requires the appointment of a senior official to head the office. The amendment outlines the duties of the office, authorizes members of the civil service and Foreign Service to be detailed to city halls and state capitols to support their international engagement efforts, and requires a report to Congress followed by annual briefings on the work of the office.
COVID-19 Warrior Dog Amendment: Directs the Secretary of Defense to establish a pilot program to determine the effectiveness of using scent detection working dogs to detect the early stages of diseases, including COVID-19, and upon detection, to alert the handler of the dog.
Assignment Restrictions Amendment: Aims to reform the practice of Assignment Restrictions at the State Department. The Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) imposes Assignment Restrictions on some employees who otherwise hold Top Secret clearances, precluding them from serving in a particular country or working on issues related to that country in Washington. These restrictions are often discriminatory, biased, and counterproductive to the goals of diversity, inclusion, and retention of talent at the State Department
Hack Your State Department Amendment: Strengthens cyber defenses for the State Department by tapping ethical hackers to identify vulnerabilities in State Department’s networks and data systems. This program will rely on a bug bounty system where authorized hackers can enter a State Department system, identify and disclose weaknesses and receive compensation. Additionally, it will establish a Vulnerability Disclosure Program to field vulnerabilities reported by the general public.