Washington D.C. – Military Personnel Subcommittee Ranking Member Susan Davis made the following statement at today’s Military Personnel subcommittee markup:

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  I am pleased to be here as we mark-up the military personnel portion of H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.  I want to thank Mr. Wilson and the staff for the bi-partisan manner in which the mark has been put together.

“This mark attempts to continue to improve the quality of life for our service members and their families.

“I have stated on numerous occasions that for over a decade our service members and their families are bearing the brunt of multiple deployments required of a nation at war.  While there seems to be some light at the end of this tunnel, the future still remains uncertain, and as conflicts in the Middle East continue to arise, our trust and faith in those who wear the uniform will continue.  Therefore, it is important that we maintain our moral responsibility to care for those who volunteer to serve our nation in uniform and their families.

“Some of the highlights of the bill that support our troops include:

  • A 1.6 percent pay raise.
  • Authority for the Secretary of Defense to establish apprenticeship programs to help in the transition of service members.
  • Over the past several years, the subcommittee has maintained a focus on sexual assault and harassment, and remains committed to significantly reducing sexual assaults and harassment.  The mark builds upon our substantial efforts last year, and I look forward to the additional proposals that our colleagues will be offering at the full committee.
  • We continue to support military children; once again, the mark includes an authorization of $30 million in the Department of Defense Impact Aid program, and additional $10 million for local educational agencies directly impacted by force structure changes and BRAC.

“Unfortunately, the subcommittee was unable to include any provisions that would move forward on the Disabled Veterans Tax, the Widows Tax, and fixing the reserve retirement issue. While I understand the challenges that the chair faces, I hope that he will support any efforts in the future that would continue to address these issues.

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”