Faso, Maloney cheer House passage of defense bill

Both Republican Rep. John Faso and Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney on Friday celebrated the House of Representatives passage of a military spending authorization bill, though not for the same reasons.

Faso applauded the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act for increasing defense spending by 10 percent, to $696 billion; for providing $2.5 billion more for missile defense than the administration asked for; and raising pay for service members. The bill passed by 344-81, according to his office.

“Our military has been gutted for the last half-decade, reducing readiness and weakening American leadership in the world,” Faso said in a press release. “The 2018 defense authorization legislation which I supported today reverses this harmful trend and rebuilds our military while implementing major reforms such as fixing Pentagon-buying practices that have too often been fraught with waste.”

Maloney highlighted instead two provisions in the bill that he wrote: one to shorten the waiting time for veterans with disability claims, the other to protect service members from predatory debt collectors. Both proposals originated as standalone bills and were added to the larger defense bill. Maloney has been pushing since 2013 for legislation to speed approval of disability claims by allowing vets to be examined doctors from outside the Veterans Affairs system.

“As the son of a disabled veteran, I know our veterans deserve better than long wait times and bureaucratic red tape standing between them and the benefits they earned while serving our country,” Maloney said. “This legislation makes sure we keep in place a critical tool the VA needs to continue fighting the backlog of disability claims.”

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