Ricketts Supports Defense Budget that Will Keep America Safe, Prioritize Military Readiness
July 27, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Pete Ricketts (R-NE), the Ranking Member of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, voted for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024. The bill, passed by a vote of 86-11, lays out spending priorities for the Department of Defense (DOD) and a number of non-defense authorizations, including the State Department.
“At a time of growing threats from adversaries like the People’s Republic of China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea, this defense bill focuses on deterring aggression and keeping Americans safe,” said Senator Ricketts. “I was proud to vote to give our troops a well-deserved pay raise, reject Biden’s reckless plan to shrink our Navy, modernize our nuclear deterrent, and ensure oversight of our aid to Ukraine. This bill also directs the president to prevent adversaries from purchasing U.S. farmland and demands the Pentagon focus on readiness instead of letting bureaucrats push divisive Critical Race Theory and DEI practices on our ranks.
“I am also grateful the bill includes Senator Lankford and my amendments to improve customer service and transparency in the Biden administration’s backlogged passport office,” Ricketts added.
The NDAA includes many legislative efforts supported by Ricketts. The bill:
- Supports $886 billion in FY 2024 funding for our national security
- Secures a 5.2% pay raise for servicemembers
- Establishes a new U.S. training program for the military forces in Taiwan
- Expands the Pacific Deterrence Initiative to enhance U.S. basing and logistics in the Western Pacific
- Requires a full public accounting of CCP military spending to ensure the rest of the world understands the Chinese Communist Party’s global military goals
- Restricts the DOD from supporting Hollywood film projects that have ties to the CCP
- Encourages development of new homeland air defense protocols to avoid future violations of U.S. airspace
- Fully funds the European Deterrence Initiative to boost the military readiness of European allies and deter Russian aggression
- Fully funds and extends the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) through fiscal year 2027
- Includes the FINISH IT Act to ensure border wall panels already owned by the U.S. government are used or transferred to state governments for use in building the border wall
- Directs DOD to develop a strategy for countering fentanyl trafficking, and imposes sanctions on transnational criminal organizations, including drug cartels, and others who traffic illicit fentanyl and its precursors
- Includes the Merit Act to replace all DOD “equity” programming with initiatives focused on equal opportunity, including at service academies
- Freezes DEI hiring until a full accounting of all DOD DEI programming and costs are completed
There are a number of Nebraska-specific wins. The bill:
- Authorizes critical funding for the 55th Wing and 557th Weather Wing at Offutt AFB
- Authorizes increased funding for the Sentinel ICBM weapon system and provides the program with multiyear procurement authority to stabilize supply chains and increase program efficiency
- Supports requested funding for military construction projects at Offutt AFB and various Nebraska National Guard sites throughout the state
- Authorizes additional resources for STRATCOM’s Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications (NC3) modernization
- Authorizes full funding for the recapitalization and modernization of our nuclear triad
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