July 23, 2020

Manchin Votes To Pass FY21 National Defense Authorization Act, Secures West Virginia Priorities

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), voted in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21), a vital piece of legislation that authorizes defense funding and provides authorities for our military to defend the nation. The FY21 NDAA authorizes $740.5 billion dollars including $636.4 billion for the Department of Defense (DoD), $25.9 billion for Department of Energy (DOE) national security programs, $8.15 billion for military construction, and $69 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations.

“Today the Senate passed the FY21 NDAA, a vital, bipartisan piece of legislation that includes necessary funding for our troops to defend America and provides support to West Virginia’s brave service members as well as other priorities across the Mountain State,” said Senator Manchin. “However, I am disappointed to see that my colleagues in the Senate chose to terminate the position of the Chief Management Officer for the Department of Defense. Previous legislation that I secured created that position to bring about vital cost savings and fiscal accountability the Pentagon desperately needs, and I believe removal of that position is a step in the wrong direction for our tax dollars. While this bill isn’t perfect, I am proud to help ensure our military is prepared to face the threats to America from at home and abroad.”

Below is a list of West Virginia provisions included in the Senate version of the FY21 NDAA:                                                                                                                                             

  • Supplying Our Troops with Materials Made in America- Securing our national defense means reducing our dependence on foreign nations for critically important materials, such as:
    • Synthetic Graphite- Senator Manchin’s provision ensures that DoD studies the military applications of domestic supplies of synthetic graphite. This supports the important work of companies like Amsted Industries in West Virginia that are proven industry leaders in the development of synthetic graphite.
    • Rare Earth Elements (REE) from Coal Sludge- This provision builds on Senator Manchin’s ongoing efforts to increase our domestic production of REEs. It is consistent with the ongoing, innovative research at West Virginia University (WVU) to extract REEs from coal and coal byproducts and supports the possible applications of this research in fulfilling DoD’s warfighting needs.
    • Coal Carbon Fibers- Senator Manchin’s provision ensures that coal based carbon fibers are studied by the DoD to provide greater capability within our defense industrial base to supply critical materials domestically. This could bring jobs and investment to West Virginia which is uniquely positioned to support the development of these materials.
  • Helping Our Local Broadcasters and Rural Papers- Senator Manchin secured language encouraging the Department of recruiting commands to give all due consideration towards the use of local broadcasting and traditional media sources such as, rural newspapers. DoD advertising, including major sporting events and typical recruiting advertisements have been cut back due to COVID-19. This provision is consistent with Senator Manchin’s ongoing efforts to help West Virginia broadcasters and newspapers make up for lost advertising revenue at a time when demand for their services has never been higher.
  • Bringing Jobs to West Virginia- Senator Manchin’s provision provides place of performance contract flexibility that enables the Department of the Navy to expand its employee base beyond the immediate Capital Region to areas like Rocket Center, WV which will generate economic growth and save taxpayer dollars. This builds on Senator Manchin’s related efforts in last year’s NDAA to bring more jobs to West Virginia.
  • Special Operations Forces (SOF) Training on restored Surface Mine Sites- Encourages DoD to look at former surface mine sites, like those in West Virginia, for SOF training opportunities because of their austere, remote, and rough terrain.
  • National Guard Cyber Pilot- This language authorizes the Secretaries of the Army and Air Force to conduct pilot programs to develop and use cyber capabilities within the National Guard.
  • Expeditionary Solid Waste Disposal System- $15.9 million increase for the Army to procure mobile, deployable incinerators to get rid of equipment that is contaminated. This will serve as an alternative to the military having to use burn pits, which cause health complications to service members.
  • Expansion of the Diseases Covered under Agent Orange Exposure- Legislation that as a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Senator Manchin fought for was adopted to add Parkinsonism, Bladder Cancer, and Hypothyroidism to the list of diseases associated with exposure to Agent Orange for veterans with a presumption of service connection.
  • Addressing the Exposure of Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) in our Communities- The NDAA provides a $5 million increase in authorized funds for the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to continue their five-year nationwide study to identify the potential harm elevated levels of PFAS chemicals pose when they contaminate our drinking water sources.

  • Ensuring the Affordability of Insulin- More than 1 in 10 West Virginian adult has diabetes, making West Virginia ranked second highest in the nation. This provision would requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct a study and issue a report on the affordability of insulin. West Virginians should never be forced to choose between putting food on the table and going to the doctor or buying life-saving medicines.