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Hudson Secures Big Wins for Fort Bragg in NDAA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 11, 2019
 
Hudson Secures Big Wins for Fort Bragg in NDAA
House Passes NDAA Conference Report with Pay Raise for Troops, Hudson’s Measures to Address Military Housing, Allow Service Members Recourse in DOD Medical Malpractice
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (NC-08), Fort Bragg’s Congressman and an outspoken advocate for North Carolina's military community, released the following statement after the House passed the bipartisan conference report for the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which included several of his priorities for Fort Bragg, including a landmark provision he led to allow service members recourse in Department of Defense medical malpractice:
 
“When I heard from constituents on changes they wanted to see to military policy, I immediately went to work,” said Rep. Hudson. “While this bill isn’t perfect, I’m proud to see many of these policy changes included in the bill. I’ll continue to look out for our soldiers and their families at Fort Bragg and across the district.”
 
Allowing Service Members Recourse in DOD Medical Malpractice
Earlier this year, Rep. Hudson introduced the bipartisan Sergeant First Class Richard Stayskal Military Medical Accountability Act of 2019, a bill named after a Moore County constituent and veteran. Today’s NDAA includes a provision he helped secure based on this legislation to allow service members to seek compensation for medical malpractice unrelated to their military duties and caused by a Department of Defense health care provider.
 
While the NDAA does not fully repeal the Feres Doctrine, it authorizes the Secretary of Defense to allow, settle, and pay an administrative claim against the United States for personal injury or death of a member of the uniformed services that was the result of medical malpractice caused by a Department of Defense health care provider. For the first time since 1950, U.S. military personnel would have legal recourse to seek payment from the military in cases of medical malpractice.
 
Improving Privatized Military Housing and Increasing Oversight and Accountability
Earlier this year, Rep. Hudson introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Better Military Housing Act of 2019, legislation to improve oversight and bring much-needed transparency and accountability to military housing. Today’s NDAA includes key provisions from Rep. Hudson’s bill, including provisions to:
  • Establish an IG review of privatized military housing
  • Require the Services to establish a Tenant Bill of Rights that sets minimum acceptable livability standards, demands better communication, creates greater transparency, addresses establishment of a formal dispute resolution process, bans the use of non-disclosure agreements as a condition of moving out of military housing, and enhances protections against reprisal
  • Require the Department to establish a standardized assessment tool to be used in evaluating military housing for certain risks, including lead and mold;
  • Increases transparency for families by requiring disclosure of major repairs/remediation prior to lease signing
  • Require new quality control measures and increase health and hazard inspections
  • Authorize additional funding to ensure installation housing offices are properly staffed
Rep. Hudson continues to be in close contact with leaders at Fort Bragg and the Department of Defense. He remains committed to working closely with stakeholders to hold those accountable and fix this problem. He has toured military homes and engaged with many military families at Fort Bragg to make sure this legislation addresses their needs.
 
Modernizing and Improving Pay Allowance Continuation (PAC)
Pay Allowance Continuation (PAC) allows a soldier continuation of special pay during a portion of their rehabilitation time from wounds, injuries, and illnesses they have incurred in a combat operation or combat zone. The NDAA includes a modernization of pay and benefits for soldiers recovering from wounds sustained in combat. Over the past few years, medical capabilities have improved across special operations units to allow operators to receive world class treatment and rehabilitation services back at their home unit. This has allowed Green Berets from Fort Bragg to rehab while being reintegrated into their unit and being surrounded by their family and support network. Previously, these services would have only been available at an inpatient facility like Walter Reed. This amendment ensures that service members recovering from wounds continue to receive the additional pay they are entitled to until they are fit for duty.
 
Contributing to Healthy Communities and Addressing PFAS
The NDAA prohibits the use of firefighting foam containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) after October 1, 2024, with an exception for shipboard use, and immediately prohibits the uncontrolled release of fluorinated aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) and the use of AFFF in training exercises at military installations. The conference agreement encourages the Secretary of Defense to finalize cooperative agreements with states to address contamination by these substances and authorizes the National Guard to access Defense Environmental Remediation Account funds for the limited purpose of addressing PFOS and PFOA exposure and contamination resulting from National Guard activities in and around National Guard bases.
 
Providing a Pay Raise for Troops
Today’s NDAA provides a 3.1% pay-raise for our troops – the largest increase in a decade.
 
Overall, today’s bipartisan NDAA authorizes $738 billion in defense funding and rejects numerous poison pills from Washington Democrats, such as restrictions on the President’s authorities to secure our borders. It also:
  • Provides the resources to continue to rebuild readiness, advance modernization of the nuclear triad, develop emerging technologies, enhance missile defense, and confront our adversaries
  • Maintains long-standing prohibitions on transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay and constructing detention facilities in the U.S.
  • Provides an additional $5.3 billion in emergency funding for military installations damaged by natural disasters
  • Establishes the United States Space Force as the sixth branch of the military
  • Provides up to 12 weeks of Paid Parental Leave for the Defense Department, Intelligence Community, and across the federal government, a key administration priority
 
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