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House passes National Defense Authorization Act

The NDAA includes an amendment authorizing the construction of an additional ship by Austal USA in Mobile.

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The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed the conference committee version of the Mac Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act.

Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-Alabama, said that the NDAA includes his amendment authorizing construction of an additional ship to be built by Austal USA in Mobile.

The House passed the bill, H.R. 6395, by a vote of 335 to 78. Byrne’s amendment authorized $260 million for the construction of an additional Expeditionary Fast Transport vessel.

“Passing the defense bill each year is among the most essential and challenging duties of Congress and requires not only countless hours of hard work but the ability to make compromises,” Byrne said. “While I don’t agree with every provision in this conference report, the final product is a remarkable example of bipartisan teamwork to provide for the men and women of our Armed Forces and ultimately to protect the American people.”

“Important to Southwest Alabama, the inclusion in the conference report of my amendment to authorize the construction of an additional EPF at the Austal shipyard in Mobile represents a significant endorsement of Austal and the EPF’s continued importance to our national defense,” Byrne said. “The Navy has set an ambitious but achievable goal of a 355-ship fleet, and the hardworking men and women of Austal are indispensable in achieving that important milestone.”

The NDAA sets policy and authorizes funding for the U.S. military. It has been passed by the House each year for the previous 59 years. Byrne will be retiring from Congress at the end of the month.

“The work I have done on the Armed Services Committee is among my proudest accomplishments from my time in Congress,” Byrne said. “I am forever grateful for and proud of the key role so many Alabamians play in protecting the freedoms all Americans enjoy, and it has been my great honor to serve them.”

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The Senate will vote on the NDAA — most likely on Wednesday.

President Donald Trump has promised to veto this year’s NDAA because it includes a provision to rename U.S. military bases that were named for Confederate heroes and because the bill did not repeal legislation, known as Section 230, that protects social media companies like Google, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook from liability for what appears on their platforms.

The president claims the social media companies are biased against conservatives, Republicans and people of faith. The NDAA passed with bipartisan support in the House sufficient to override a presidential veto.

Byrne represents Alabama’s 1st Congressional District. Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl will represent the 1st District in the 117th Congress, which begins on Jan. 3.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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