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Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham

Representing the 1st District of New Mexico

Rep. Lujan Grisham Statement on Final Passage of Defense Bill

Jul 26, 2018
Press Release
NDAA Package Includes Pay Raise for Military & Wins for New Mexico

Rep. Lujan Grisham Statement on Final Passage of Defense Bill

NDAA Package Includes Pay Raise for Military & Wins for New Mexico

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01) released the following statement on final passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes one of her amendments that is important to the large national laboratory and military presence in New Mexico.

“This bipartisan defense bill supports our men and women in uniform, and New Mexico's national laboratories and military bases that are vital to national security and our state's economy,” Rep. Lujan Grisham said. "This bill includes my amendment that helps start-ups and small businesses in New Mexico and across the country develop partnerships with the Department of Defense to take innovative technologies to market. I am proud to strengthen the missions of these institutions and ensure that federal investments are leveraged to create jobs and grow New Mexico’s economy."

Rep. Lujan Grisham’s amendment in the NDAA provides defense department personnel new opportunities to partner with universities and businesses in order to facilitate the commercialization of innovative DOD-developed technologies.

The bill also provides service members with a 2.6% pay increase, authorizes $33.7 billion for defense health care programs, creates a national prescription drug monitoring program to try to stem the abuse of opioid-based prescription drugs, and enhances existing protections against sexual assault.

“The well-earned pay increase authorized in this bill is the largest pay increase for our troops in nine years and represents our commitment to their sacrifice and duty,” Rep. Lujan Grisham said.

Unfortunately, one of Rep. Lujan Grisham’s key amendments that addresses an inequality among our service members was not included the final package. The amendment would have authorized compensation and retirement credit to members of the National Guard and Reserve during periods of maternity leave. Currently, female active duty military personnel are authorized 12 weeks of paid maternity leave with full credit for retirement, while females in the National Guard and Reserve do not receive these same benefits.

“Mothers who serve our country in the National Guard or Reserve should not have to choose between their careers and the well-being of their families,” Rep. Lujan Grisham said. “My amendment would have ensured that every female service member receives creditable military service pay and points towards retirement during time spent on maternity leave. It is unacceptable that this blatant inequality was not corrected. These mothers put their lives on the line for our nation, yet are denied the benefits they deserve.”

The following amendment was penned by Rep. Lujan Grisham and included the final NDAA Package:

  • Open Campus Amendment: The Army Research Lab’s Open Campus program allows collaboration between the defense laboratory, industry, and academia. This amendment authorizes other defense entities, including the Air Force Research Lab, to create a similar open campus initiative which fosters innovation and provides for rapid transition of technologies into products by entrepreneurs. 

Rep. Lujan Grisham also cosponsored two amendments with Congressman Ben Ray Luján (NM-03) that were included in this year’s NDAA. The amendments include:

  • One amendment, based on Luján’s Support Startup Businesses Act, would help small startup businesses secure funding for early-stage innovation and development.
  • One amendment expresses the sense of Congress that the U.S. government should compensate all the miners, workers, downwinders, and others suffering from the effects of uranium mining and nuclear testing carried out during the Cold War.