July 15, 2016

Hirono to Push for Hawaii Priorities, Asia-Pacific Rebalance

Will Serve as Member of NDAA Conference Committee

Senator Mazie K. Hirono was named to the Senate-House Conference Committee for the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The role of the Conference Committee is to resolve differences between the versions of the NDAA passed by the House and Senate earlier this year. The NDAA is a bill that lays out the resource levels and defense policy for the year. Senator Hirono is the Ranking Member of the Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee, which oversees Navy and Marine Corps programs.

“As an NDAA conferee, I will continue to push for increased funding for research and development in renewable energy technology, support for federal workers at Hawaii’s shipyards, and additional resources for cyber defense programs. However, I will also continue to oppose turning the NDAA into a slush fund for additional defense spending without corresponding increases in investments in strengthening our communities and economy,” said Senator Hirono.  “Hawaii plays a critical role in safeguarding national security, particularly in the context of the Asia-Pacific Rebalance, and I will continue to push for adequate study and evaluation of the impact of proposed changes to the Department of Defense that could impact our force structure and locally based service commands. I will also fight to keep priorities and resources for Hawaii that I successfully included in the Senate’s version of the bill in the conference report.”

As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Hirono secured provisions to the Senate’s version of the NDAA that provides nearly $200 million to improve military installations in Hawaii, prevents devastating cuts to Hawaii’s Impact Aid program, and bolsters Tricare beneficiary access. Senator Hirono also successfully included Talia’s Law- a measure named after five-year-old Talia Williams, who died after months of abuse by her father and stepmother, that would require Department of Defense employees who interact with children to report suspected abuse to civilian authorities like the Hawaii Child Welfare Services.

Both the House and Senate have passed different versions of the NDAA. Under the Constitution, Congress has to agree on the same text of a bill in order to send it to the President for signature. Conference Committees serve as a way for the House and Senate to reach agreement on legislation which must then be passed again by both the House and Senate. As an NDAA conferee, Senator Hirono will collaborate with members of the Senate and House to come to a bipartisan and bicameral compromise on our nation’s military policies.