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January 01, 2021

King Votes to Override Presidential Veto, Enact Defense Bill Containing Key Provisions to Ensure National Security, Increase Cybersecurity, and Support Maine Jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Co-Chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission (CSC), voted to override President Trump’s veto of the Mac Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021, so that it can become law. The legislation includes important provisions to ensure America’s national defense and supports jobs for Maine manufacturers at facilities like Bath Iron Works and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. In addition, this year’s NDAA reflects the most comprehensive cybersecurity legislation ever passed by Congress, as it includes 27 provisions based on recommendations from the CSC. The Senate voted to override the President’s December 23rd veto by a vote of 81 - 13;  the veto was overridden by the House of Representatives earlier this week by an overwhelming vote of 322 - 87. Following these votes, the veto has been overridden and the legislation is now law.

“As it has for generations, Congress worked on a strongly bipartisan basis to craft this year’s NDAA, which will strengthen our national security, improve pay and care for our servicemembers, and support jobs across Maine, including shipbuilding priorities at Bath Iron Works and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard,” said Senator King. “In a Congress far too often marked by divisiveness, both Houses came together to advance this bill with overwhelming bipartisan majorities. Today, we’ve completed our work, and overridden the President’s misguided veto to enact a bill that will make important steps to keep Americans safe.

“I’m particularly proud of the work done by this bill to improve our nation’s cybersecurity posture. This year’s NDAA includes 27 provisions proposed by the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, which will create new cyberdefenses aimed at preventing incursions into or attacks on American networks, while also encouraging the government to craft a thoughtful deterrence strategy that gives our adversaries pause before attempting to harm us. I look forward to continuing to work with the CSC team, my Senate colleagues, and the incoming Biden Administration to improve our nation’s cyber capabilities.”

Senator King successfully advocated for the inclusion of many provisions that will improve national security, support Maine jobs, and take care of servicemembers and veterans, including:

  • FUNDING SHIPBUILDING PRIORITIES. The legislation authorizes $3.0 billion for the procurement of 2 DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers in fiscal year 2021, which Bath Iron Works (BIW) can compete to build. It also authorizes $334.3 million to fund future year DDG-51 procurements. In addition, the legislation authorizes funds $78.2 million for the completion of the DDG-1000 Zumwalt-class destroyers, all of which are being built at BIW.
  • FUNDING CONSTRUCTION AT MAINE FACILITIES.  The 2021 NDAA authorizes $160 million for construction of Dry Dock One at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard installation at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery. It also includes $26.1 million for perimeter security at the Naval Support Activity (NSA) Cutler in Cutler.
  • ADVANCING CYBERSPACE SOLARIUM COMMISSION’S RECOMMENDATIONS. As the co-chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission (CSC), Senator King advocated for the inclusion of 27 provisions backed by the CSC to improve America’s cybersecurity posture. Included in these provisions is the creation of a National Cyber Director – a key CSC priority to boost federal leadership on cybersecurity. Additional provisions will strengthen America’s cyberdefense by empowering the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), examine some of the highest risk areas in cyberspace, and creating a plan to ensure continuity of the economy in the event of a major disruption.
  • SUPPORTING RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT WORK. Senator King successfully pushed for the inclusion of additional funds for Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation programs, including funding for research and development on active protection systems, tungsten manufacturing, and additive manufacturing initiatives. Maine research institutions and companies will be eligible to compete for some of these projects.
  • PROVIDING MILITARY PERSONNEL WITH HIGH-QUALITY, MAINE-MADE EQUIPMENT. The NDAA authorizes $800.6 million in funding to purchase 7 CH-53 helicopters, which include components produced at Hunting Dearborn in Fryeburg. The legislation also includes $201.2 million for advance procurement of these helicopters.
  • BOLSTER AMERICAN SEMICONDUCTOR MANUFACTURING. The NDAA includes a King-backed amendment to support the production and development of microelectronics in the United States. The amendment mirrors the King-cosponsored American Foundries Act of 2020, and will help support jobs at two Maine factories.
  • RENAMING MILITARY BASES: The conference report establishes a commission to study and provide recommendations concerning the removal of names, symbols, displays, and monuments that honor the Confederate States of America on Department of Defense land and facilities worldwide. This report must be made within three years of the NDAA’s enactment.
  • IMPROVING PANDEMIC RESPONSE: In order to bolster America’s response to any future pandemic disease, the conference report directs the Secretary of Defense to develop a strategy for pandemic preparedness in response.
  • INCREASING MILITARY PAY. The legislation authorizes a 3 percent pay raise for members of the Armed Forces, and increases hazard pay by 10 percent.
  • EXPANDING TELEHEALTH FOR VETERANS: This year’s NDAA would expand the ability for VA health professionals to provide healthcare via telemedicine. This effort builds on work done during the coronavirus pandemic to improve access to care for veterans, and would help older veterans and those who live in rural areas stay connected to healthcare providers. 

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