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Rep. Castor Supports Defense Package to Boost Military Pay, Increase Access to Affordable Housing for Tampa Service Members – Kathy Castor

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U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) released the following statement upon the House’s 329-101 passage of the bipartisan FY23 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA):
“This year, the American people have witnessed our service members’ bravery and commitment to serving and defending our nation and its values in the aftermath of Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and the growing threat posed by China. That is why we have crafted a defense bill that equips our military and the Department of Defense with the necessary resources and technology to meet current and future threats against the United States and its allies.
“We are also making good on our promise to meet the immediate and long-term needs of our service members and their families while they’re serving our nation at home and abroad. This includes an increase in military basic pay by 4.6 percent for our troops, and an additional 2.4 percent inflation bonus for those earning less than $45,000/year. Importantly, the NDAA also codifies a $15 minimum wage for workers on federal service and construction contracts.
“Our package also meets the current moment when our neighbors are feeling the pinch on a hot housing market, adding funds to the basic allowance for housing to ensure that military families can find adequate housing wherever they may serve and lower costs at the same time.  We also provide support for the costs of everyday food and products service members purchase from commissaries.
“I am proud that my amendment to help better tackle the challenges that our Special Operator service members face when transitioning to civilian life was included.  I introduced this amendment with my fellow co-chairs of the Special Operations Forces Caucus to require the Government Accountability Office to conduct a report on the ability of servicemembers assigned to Special Operations units to utilize Department of Defense transition programs. It’s our duty to serve our men and women in uniform as well as they serve us, and that includes meeting their needs – physical, mental and financial – when they return home.
“Recognizing that climate change increasingly threatens our military preparedness, this legislation includes provisions to tackle these challenges head on, with measures to increase energy security, pilot sustainable aviation fuels, and strengthen our military installations against wildfire and other climate-fueled threats. Additionally, I’m proud to have worked with Congresswoman Veronica Escobar of Texas to successfully include provisions that will expand electric vehicles (EV) charging across our military installations, and to ensure that our military hospitals, housing, and other critical facilities are up to par when it comes to issues of resilience and energy efficiency.
“With this week’s House passage of legislation to support the over 3.5 million veterans who have toxic exposure, the Congress has once again demonstrated its ability to work in a bipartisan fashion to support our military families. It is my hope that the Senate works quickly to pass this critical defense bill to support the work of our troops at home and abroad as it has in years past.”
The NDAA includes the following priorities for MacDill Air Force Base and Tampa residents:
Families
Access to behavioral health:
Increase Oversight of Privatized Military Family Housing Projects
Afghanistan
Supporting and Empowering HBCUs and other Minority Serving Institutions
Quality of Life and Innovation Infrastructure

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