Hoeven Statement on President's Veto of Bipartisan National Defense Legislation

Senator Working to Override President's Veto, Support Nation's Defense

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today released the following statement after the President vetoed the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), legislation that supports the nation’s military, includes important North Dakota priorities, and authorizes full funding for the military. The President vetoed the bill because he wants additional spending for non-military programs. The House of Representatives will vote first to override the veto. The Senate passed NDAA by a vote of 70 to 27 earlier this month, enough votes to override the veto.  

“I am disappointed that the President vetoed the Defense Authorization bill, which passed with bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House, because this legislation is critically important to our national security,” Hoeven said. “We’ll continue working to build the support necessary to override the President’s veto and also to pass the accompanying Defense Appropriations Bill to ensure that our service members have the support they need and deserve.”

The bill provides strong funding for the nation’s military, including funding to support readiness and training for troops and increased personnel pay and benefits. Also, Hoeven worked hard to ensure that the NDAA supports the nuclear missions at Minot Air Force Base, the Global Hawk missions at Grand Forks and the North Dakota National Guard.

Brief highlights of the bill include the following:

  • The agreement fully authorizes the FY16 budget request for the ICBM and B-52 missions at Minot AFB, including the Nuclear Force Improvement Program.
  • The agreement provides full authorization for the Grand Forks AFB’s Global Hawk unmanned aircraft missions, which provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.
  • The agreement authorizes $7.3 million to construct an Intelligence Targeting Facility at Hector Field to support the Air National Guard’s new targeting mission.  Hoeven is a member of the Military Construction Appropriations Committee that provides funding within this authorization that will build the facility.
  • The Fiscal Year 2016 Defense Authorization bill also requires the Air Force to produce a comprehensive plan to increase the number of qualified pilots of Remotely Piloted Aircraft.  This plan could include using private sector-led Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) training, which Hoeven has promoted. The senator included language in the Fiscal Year 2016 Defense Appropriations bill that requires the Air Force to consider private sector-led training for RPA pilots.

Personnel and Benefits:

  • Basic Pay: The agreement includes a 1.3 percent raise in basic pay across the board for all military servicemembers grade O-6 and below.  It also reauthorizes 30 types of bonus pay and increases the maximum amount of nuclear officer bonus pay, which is important for Air Force personnel in Minot.
  • Thrift Savings Plan: The conference agreement creates a new 401k-style retirement benefit for the more than 80% of servicemembers who retire before reaching 20 years of service.  
  • Pharmacy Copays: The agreement rejects most of the administration’s proposed increases in pharmacy copayments and accepts only the amount necessary to fund new retirement benefits.
  • Dual military couples: The conference committee preserved housing allowances for dual-military couples.