Final NDAA Conference Report Released; Now Awaits President's Signature
Posted by Christina Roof on December 20
UPDATE: Both the House and Senate have passed the NDAA. It now awaits President Obama's signature. The House of Representatives passed the NDAA on Dec. 20th with a vote of 315-107. See how they voted here. The Senate followed suit on December 21 with a vote of 81-14. You can see the Senate's roll call vote here.
IAVA will continue updates on the NDAA here through the New Year.
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The fiscal year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act is one step closer to becoming law. Leaders from both the House and Senate have announced that they will be filing their final conference reports as early as tomorrow. This means that the next step will be votes on the final version of the NDAA.
Last week, IAVA put out our "Holiday Wish List" for Congress, outlining the measures we wanted to see passed it the final weeks of the 112th Congress – which includes the final version of the NDAA. After going through the newly released NDAA conference report, we are happy to report that several key IAVA-supported provisions were included.
Here is a breakdown of what made it into the from our holiday wish list:
Helping Veterans Transition to the Workforce-
- Sec. 544. State consideration of military training in granting certain State certifications and licenses as a condition on the receipt of funds for veterans employment and training - Requires states to consider military training and education for civilian certifications and licenses in comparable civilian jobs
- Section 541. Transfer of Troops-to-Teachers Program from Department of Education to Department of Defense and enhancements to the Program - Allows veterans having served six years on active duty to use their military experience as credit for their state teaching certification and licensing
Defend the New GI Bill-
- Sec. 545. - Reviews access to bases and posts by for-profit schools and their recruiters
Improved Access to Mental Health Care-
- Sec. 580 and 582 - Standardizes aspects of DoD and VA suicide prevention programs, as well as improving access and quality of mental health care available to members of the armed forces and their families
- Sec. 581 - Creates a suicide training and prevention programs for Guard, Reserves, and their families, as well as enhancing the mental health services available to them
- Sec. 706. - Creates a pilot using community partners to provide mental health services for the Guard and Reservist
IAVA is also very pleased to see a number of other of our priorities make it into the NDAA as well. These include:
Military Sexual Trauma (MST)-
- The establishment of DoD Special Victims Units to respond to and investigate all reports of sexual misconduct
- Independent reviews of all judicial proceedings and investigations on sexual misconduct
- Improved victim protections and reporting policies
- Parity with the civilian health care system regarding care for victims of MST
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)-
- Detailed plan to eliminate gaps and redundancies in programs of the Department of Defense on psychological health and traumatic brain injury
Claims Backlog –
- Requires VA to provide a detailed report to Congress on how they are going to solve the claims backlog. This report is due no later than 60 days after the President signs the bill into law.
With these provisions, the NDAA is a big step forward for veterans, service members and their families.
Christina Roof is IAVA's Legislative Associate and works out of our Washington, D.C. office.
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