President Joe Biden has signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes legislation that U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal said will help the Central Coast.
And it features a measure advancing space capabilities at Vandenberg Space Force Base.
The defense bill also includes a 2.7% pay raise for U.S. service members.
The bill was negotiated with the Senate and passed the House on a bipartisan basis on Dec. 7. The president signed the law, which is for fiscal year 2022, on Monday.
The bill includes an amendment that was spearheaded by U.S. Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, which will extend the FireGuard program for another five years.
The Fireguard program uses Department of Defense resources to which funds local jurisdictions to detect and monitor wildfires. The program had to be previously re-authorized on an annual basis so that the provision would provide long-term certainty for emergency responders who rely on this program.
“Each year, Congress comes together to pass a bipartisan bill that enhances our national security and keeps Americans safe,” Rep. Carbajal said in a statement. “The bill, which was negotiated across party lines and both chambers of Congress, reflects our nation’s shared values, and I am proud to have secured several measures that will directly benefit Central Coast families.
“The bill includes my amendment to extend the FireGuard program for five years, which will give long-term certainty to the emergency responders in our state who rely on the program to detect and monitor wildfires,” the congressman said. “It also gives our service members a well-deserved pay raise and institutes reforms to prevent and prosecute sexual assault in the military. This bill is a major win for our troops, our communities, and our country.”
In addition to the FireGuard program, Rep. Carbajal also worked to include a measure to fight food insecurity, which allows the defense secretary to provide basic need allowance to qualified service members. This is based on HR 2339, the Military Hunger Prevention Act, which was co-sponsored by Rep. Carbajal.
Other provisions in the bill which Rep. Carbajal influenced include supporting local military-university partnerships and advancing Vandenberg’s space capabilities.
Rep. Carbajal supported a $5 million increase to the Spacelift Range System, which is intended to improve the infrastructure at ranges, including those at the Vandeberg Space Force Base. Rep. Carbajal’s office noted he led the efforts for the measure, which requires the chief of space operations to report to Congress on the Range of the Future initiative and how physical infrastructure needs at the Vandenberg will be addressed.
Rep. Carbajal also said he secured $4 million for biotechnology advancements at Army University Affiliated Research Centers, including the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies at UCSB.
And the bill includes reforms of the Uniform of Code of Military Justice to prevent and prosecute sexual assualt and sexual harassement. Additionally it includes HR 1115, which authorizes the construction of a memorial honoring U.S. service members who gave their lives in the global war on terrorism.