Congress Has NDAA on End-of-Year To-Do List
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Finalizing a comprehensive Pentagon policy bill is among the legislative items on Congress’ radar before adjourning for the year.
With federal lawmakers back in Washington after the Thanksgiving recess, renewed attention is being paid to the annual National Defense Authorization Act.
Congressional leaders are negotiating a final version of the defense measure, versions of which advanced in the House and Senate over the summer.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called on colleagues to focus on the legislation, which includes transportation, climate and energy provisions for fiscal 2024. The must-pass bill is traditionally cleared for enactment every year.
“We will complete our work on the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act,” Schumer said Nov. 26.
“I thank [Senate] Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and the members of the committee for their leadership and hard work,” the Democratic leader continued. “While a number of outstanding issues remain, once a final agreement has been reached, I will work with Speaker [Mike] Johnson, Leader [Mitch] McConnell, and Leader [Hakeem] Jeffries to pass the NDAA before the end of the year.”
On the House side, Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) also has repeatedly urged fellow policymakers to finalize the NDAA.
“For the first time in two years, we have the opportunity to return to regular order and hold a [negotiating] conference to work out the differences between the House and Senate bills,” the chairman said this month. “It’s vital that Congress come together to enact an NDAA that will build the ready, capable and lethal fighting force we need to defend our nation. The House is ready to get to work — I urge the Senate to join us.”
Specific to trucking industry priorities, the House and Senate legislative versions include a provision that would mandate the Department of Defense to greenlight certain standards for accessing military installations. In a report that accompanied the Senate bill, the Armed Services committee explained the trucking provision: “The committee notes that there is no universal access standard across the services, which can lead to project delays for military construction projects, facilities repairs and household good moves.”
Arbitrary base access rules cause delays for relocating military servicemembers, construction projects, and shipments.
This provision championed by ATA’s Moving & Storage Conference and Government Freight Conference would create a uniform standard.https://t.co/ihrvdxQJIV — American Trucking (@TRUCKINGdotORG) August 18, 2023
On July 27, the fiscal 2024 defense bill passed in the Senate by a 86-11 vote. The House approved its version 219-210 on July 14.
American Trucking Associations, ATA’s Moving and Storage Conference, ATA’s Government Freight Conference and the HomeSafe Alliance endorse congressional policymakers’ focus on matters concerning access to military installations and bases.
According to ATA: “Truck drivers, motor carriers and movers are [Department of Defense] partners. They are generally vetted by the federal government, and many have security clearances or similar credentials. Stakeholders have no interest in bypassing security protocols, but arbitrary or unknown base-access requirements that vary between installations needlessly delay truck drivers for hours — or longer.”
In September, representatives from ATA’s Moving and Storage Conference advocated for passage of the NDAA during meetings on Capitol Hill.
“Moving and storage companies are an integral part of our economy and provide an essential service to itinerant Americans in every phase of life,” Ryan Bowley, Moving and Storage Conference executive director, said soon after the meetings. “Through ‘Call on Washington,’ [Moving and Storage Conference] members have an exclusive opportunity to meet directly with members of Congress, key congressional staff and federal regulators to speak about pressing issues facing the industry, express their views and, ultimately, shape policies.”
Registration is open for ATA's 2024 Moving & Storage Conference Annual Meeting, March 4-6 in New Orleans. We invite you to join us for America's premier moving & storage industry event! #MSCAnnual24 https://t.co/YAamszLUif pic.twitter.com/WWYfdQxS1r — American Trucking (@TRUCKINGdotORG) November 28, 2023
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