Alabama’s two U.S. senators voted Wednesday to send the Fiscal 2019 defense bill to President Trump for his signature. U.S. Sens. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, and Doug Jones, D-Mountain Brook, were among the 87-10 majority voting on H.R. 5515, the National Defense Authorization Act, which funds U.S. military activities beginning Oct. 1.
Sen. Shelby is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its subcommittee on Defense. “Passage of the defense authorization bill this early in the year is a hard-fought achievement for the Senate,” Sen. Shelby said in a statement.
“It is of the utmost importance that we prioritize our national security by properly funding our military and ensuring that they are highly trained and well-equipped to best defend the United States,” he said.
The bill sent to President Trump was a conference committee report previously approved by the House. All of Alabama’s House members voted for the bill.
The NDAA authorizes $716 billion for national defense priorities and gives U.S. troops a 2.6 percent raise, which is the largest pay increase for service members in nearly a decade. This bill also aligns policies and resources to assist in implementing this administration’s National Defense Strategy.
The president asked for a 2.6 percent pay raise for troops, an increase of about 15,600 service members across the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, and 77 F-35 fighter jets. It also adds 13 new naval vessels, including three new Littoral Combat Ships at Austal in Mobile.