Source: Congresswoman Sara Jacobs
July 23, 2022 (Washington, D.C.) - Congresswoman Sara Jacobs, a member of the House Armed Services Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee, successfully advanced five amendments this month during floor consideration of the FY 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 7900).
While Congresswoman Jacobs opposed the nearly $37 billion increase to the President’s FY23 request that was included during committee markup, she voted in favor of the final bill after securing five key provisions – prioritizing human rights protections, Americans’ privacy rights, and increased oversight of security assistance.
Following the vote, Congresswoman Jacobs issued the following statement:
“As a member of the Armed Services Committee and a representative of San Diego – a diverse and dedicated military community and home to the largest concentration of military personnel in the country – I was proud to once again fight for my constituents, secure important provisions for our military personnel and their families, and advance human rights abroad. I voted yes on the FY23 NDAA, not as an investment in outdated and expensive legacy platforms, but as an investment in our service members, their children, and responsible oversight of our security efforts abroad.”
FY23 NDAA Legislative Wins Championed by Congresswoman Sara Jacobs and Included as Floor Amendments:
- Human Rights Vetting for Military Aid: An amendment – Congresswoman Jacobs’ Upholding Human Rights Abroad Act – that closes a loophole in “Leahy Laws” by ensuring recipients of two key DOD security cooperation authorities – ‘Section 127e’ and ‘Section 1202’ – are subject to human rights vetting. This amendment prevents the United States from providing support to those who have committed gross human rights violations. This amendment is supported by 19 civil society organizations and co-led by Reps. Crow, Malinowski, and Castro.
- Oversight of U.S. Security Assistance: An amendment that requires the Department of Defense to report its oversight efforts of two key security cooperation authorities – ‘Section 127e’ and ‘Section 1202’ – that are currently not subject to the same monitoring and evaluation standards as other U.S. provided security assistance.
- DOD’s Purchase of Americans’ Private Data: An amendment that requires the Department of Defense to report on its purchase and use of location data generated by Americans’ phones and internet metadata.
- DOD’s Engagement with the State Department on Clandestine Activities: An amendment that requires a report from the Department of Defense and Department of State on Chief of Mission concurrence for clandestine activities under DOD authority Section 127f.
- Streamlining State Department Reports: An amendment to streamline State Department reporting requirements on certain security and peacekeeping accounts.
Prior to successfully securing amendments on the floor, Congresswoman Jacobs also secured the following legislative amendments in the House Armed Services Committee markup:
Human Rights and Oversight of the Department of Defense:
- Prioritizing the prevention of civilian harm at the Department of Defense, including:
- Establishing a Center of Excellence to prevent civilian harm in the U.S. military;
- Establishing a Commission on Civilian Harm to look back at the past 20 years to learn lessons from civilian casualties;
- Strengthening public reporting requirements on civilian harm;
- Requiring a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the Department of Defense’s progress on implementing recommendations on the protection of civilians and efforts to prevent, mitigate, investigate, and respond to civilian harm in U.S. military operations.
- Strengthening oversight of security assistance provided to Mozambique to prevent future human rights abuses.
- Monitoring, evaluating, and learning of security assistance programs in Sahel
- Prioritizing human rights in the Department of Defense security cooperation programs, Section 127e and Section 1202, and requiring greater Department of Defense oversight of the programs.
- Incentivizing the Department of Defense to publish more unclassified reports to their website.
- Requiring the Department of Defense to conduct annual reviews of U.S. security assistance to countries to assess atrocity risks.
- Enhancing the Department of Defense’s Clandestine Quarterly report to include potential instances of intelligence failures and serious violations of law, E.O., and policy.
Support for Military Personnel and Families:
- Expanding access to assisted reproductive health services, like IVF, to all service members who sustain an injury or illness on active duty that affects their ability to have children – including LGBTQ+ and unmarried service members.
- Improving the Family Advocacy Program (FAP) – creating a new pilot program to broaden outreach and educate more service members and dependents on the programs available to prevent domestic violence.
- Expanding the Military Child Care In Your Neighborhood Plus Program – directing the Secretary of Defense to provide a briefing on the expansion of this initiative, which increases access to community-based and family child care, to California and other states that have high levels of child care need.
- Expanding contraception coverage under TRICARE – fixing an oversight in the Affordable Care Act that did not extend FDA-approved contraception without copays, to those using TRICARE.
- Increasing pay for child care workers – requiring the Department of Defense to conduct regional pay studies and increase compensation for military child development center employees to be competitive with similarly credentialed elementary school employees.
- Improving benefits for child care workers – requiring the Department of Defense to assess the feasibility of alternative benefit packages, including retirement, health care, insurance, and leave, that would be more attractive to employees of military child development centers.
- Investing in child care center maintenance – requiring the military services to increase spending on facilities sustainment, restoration, and modernization for child development centers, ramping up to 5% of replacement cost within 4 years.
- Advancing child care partnerships – requiring the military services to report specific plans to Congress on the cost, benefits, and feasibility of entering into agreements with public- and private-sector entities to provide child care services to military families.
- Promoting child care fee assistance – requiring the military services to implement a promotion campaign to raise awareness of child care fee assistance options, including the in-home child care fee assistance pilot program that helps service members hire nannies and other in-home child care providers.
- Requiring the Department of Defense to conduct a report to ensure there are an adequate number of school psychologists and student support staff at DoDEA schools.
- Allowing military and family life counselors to provide critical non-medical counseling services at any location to ensure more expansive coverage for our service members.
Improving Innovation and Military Readiness:
- Securing funding for the Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative (REPI) to ensure reduced threats to military installation resilience.
- Improving the Department of Defense’s innovation capabilities by encouraging collaboration with academics and researchers and investing in student talent.
Key San Diego Stakeholder Wins:
- Mobilizing civilian expertise for National Security Education to help strengthen existing programming at UCSD.
- Restoring funding to the San Diego-based U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program, which trains local marine mammals in mine-hunting and submarine defense. The Navy had initially proposed defunding the program and replacing marine mammals with underwater drones (UUVs) which have yet to complete full testing.