Speaker Johnson Eyes Defense Bill Negotiations

Trucking Industry Seeks Standardized Access to Military Facilities
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson
“I will ensure the House delivers results," says Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), shown Oct. 29 at the Republican Jewish Coalition annual meeting in Las Vegas. (Ronda Churchill/Bloomberg News)

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New Speaker of the House Mike Johnson plans to collaborate with Senate leaders to arrive at a final version of a big-picture defense policy bill before the end of the year.

To finalize the fiscal 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the House and Senate must approve the same version of the legislation. This summer, the chambers passed slightly different versions of the annual must-pass defense measure.

“I will ensure the House delivers results and inspires change for the American people. We will restore trust in this body. We will advance a comprehensive conservative policy agenda,” Johnson (R-La.) said soon after he succeeded Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Oct. 25.

Tucked in the House and Senate bills are provisions mandating the Department of Defense to greenlight certain standards for accessing military installations around the country. A report accompanying the Senate defense bill sought to explicate 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.”

The measure, which includes a variety of updates to military, energy and environmental programs, is guaranteed to reach the president’s desk for enactment. Wrapping up the bill’s consideration is a priority for senior policymakers.

Rep. Mike Rogers


“The election of Mike Johnson as speaker of the House sends a strong message to our adversaries,” Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said Oct. 25. “As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, he has a deep knowledge of the threats facing our nation and has a proven track record in working to counter those threats, particularly from China. Every member of this committee understands how critical the National Defense Authorization Act is for our national security, Mike is no different.”

Rogers continued, “The NDAA boosts our national defense, provides for our service members and deters our adversaries. I look forward to working with Speaker Johnson to advance the National Defense Authorization Act later this year.”

On the Senate side, the defense bill is among Democratic leaders’ legislative priorities. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the chamber’s majority leader, has called on colleagues to pursue bipartisanship as they negotiate terms for a final version.

Sen. Chuck Schumer


In announcing the chamber’s fall agenda after the August recess, Schumer insisted, “We also must build on the work we did during the [National Defense Authorization Act] to outcompete the Chinese government, to keep the American people safe, to protect American businesses and ensure that American innovation and technology leads the way this century.”

In September, American Trucking Associations’ Moving and Storage Conference urged Congress to approve the NDAA in order to standardize Department of Defense-wide base access standards. The freight stakeholder shared its perspective as part of ATA’s “Call on Washington” advocacy event. For several years, the group has sought legislative action on proposals designed to assist companies that move household goods for military and civilian personnel.

Ryan Bowley


“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 Sept. 28.

Bowley continued, “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. We appreciate our MSC members taking the time to represent our industry and educate policymakers about our priorities.”

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