Senator Votes for Bill that Includes Hyde-Smith Amendments on Gold Star Families, Thad Cochran Tribute

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today voted for Senate passage of the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a national defense policy measure authorizing resources and policies to maintain and expand U.S. military advantages.

The measure (S.4049), which includes Hyde-Smith amendments, passed on a 86-14 vote.  A conference committee must next reconcile differences in versions of the NDAA approved by the Senate and House of Representatives.

“We have a constitutional duty to provide for the national defense, and this bill builds on recent progress to protect our national security interests and to fortify our military advantages over adversaries like China, Russia, and Iran,” said Hyde-Smith, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee.  “Mississippi makes significant contributions toward meeting these challenges, which makes this policy bill important to our state.”

The Senate NDAA authorizes $740.5 billion for national defense spending and includes policies related to readiness, procurement, and support of servicemembers and their families.

Hyde-Smith sponsored amendments to the bill would:

  • Honor the late-Senator Thad Cochran by designating the “Thad Cochran Headquarters Building” at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg; and
  • Designate Sept. 20-26, 2020, as “Gold Star Families Remembrance Week.” (Hyde-Smith filed a stand-alone Gold Star Families resolution on July 2.)
  • An amendment cosponsored with Senator Tina Smith (R-Minn.) would direct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to complete a comprehensive study of insulin affordability and the impacts higher costs have on treatment programs.  (The Senators introduced similar legislation last November.)

Other items of interest:

  • Approves a 3 percent pay raise for members of the Armed Forces
  • Supports military family readiness by advocating for high-quality, accessible child care, and the employment of military spouses
  • Authorizes $21.3 billion for shipbuilding
  • Strengthens U.S. strategic alliances, including the United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2020 that Hyde-Smith cosponsored in February
  • Authorizes $44 million for COVID-19 vaccine and biotechnology research supported by the Department of Defense
  • Invests in research and development on equipment and weapons platforms to secure U.S. military supremacy
  • Encourages innovative technological development to restore, maintain, or expand U.S. comparative advantages over China and Russia for key capabilities and technologies
  • Improves fiscal responsibility by making the Pentagon budget and management processes more transparent and accountable to Congress and the American people