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All 4 Mississippi Congressmen vote to...

All 4 Mississippi Congressmen vote to pass National Defense Authorization Act

By: Frank Corder - December 8, 2021

Bill strips requiring women to register for Selective Service, includes military pay raise and provision championed by Palazzo to give Guard and Reserve pay parity.

The full Mississippi Congressional delegation has voted for S. 1605, a measure that was originally filed to designate the National Pulse Memorial in Florida but was amended to be the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022.

Much wrangling has been in play between the two parties in Congress over the NDAA in recent weeks. However, on Tuesday, the bill gained approval with a 363-70 vote in the U.S. House. Fifty-one Democrats and nineteen Republicans voted against the bill. All four Congressmen in Mississippi – Trent Kelly (R-MS 1), Bennie Thompson (D-MS 2), Michael Guest (R-MS 3) and Steven Palazzo (R-MS 4) – voted for the bill.

One of the key amendments made the bill was the exclusion of a provision that would have expanded the Selective Service System, forcing women to register when they turn 18 just as men are required to do. Democrats had championed that cause while Republicans objected. Ultimately, it was stripped from the bill.

Mississippi’s Republicans in the federal delegation, including the two U.S. Senators, had opposed expanding the Selective Service requirement to include women. The same can be said to opening the door for more “Red Flag” laws. Those Democrat provisions were removed from the bill, a step welcomed by the state’s Republicans.

Congressman Palazzo had a provision he championed with Congressman Tim Ryan from Ohio included in the House NDAA bill, that being the National Guard and Reserve Incentive Pay Parity Act. Palazzo said that portion of the bill would provide National Guardsmen and Reserve members the same specialized pay as their active-duty counterparts for completing the same job and mission.

“As a Marine and National Guardsman, one of my utmost priorities in Congress is advocating for a strong national defense. In order to strengthen our readiness and prevention strategies, it is vital to retain our talented service members,” Congressman Palazzo said in a statement following his vote to pass the bill. “My bill, the Incentive Pay and Parity Act, will give our Guard and Reserve members the same specialized pay as their active-duty counterparts for completing the same job and mission. This is an excellent opportunity for our active-duty service members to continue serving our country in reserve units without losing particular pay and benefits.”

Palazzo said the House approved NDAA “puts an end to President Biden’s harmful cuts to our shipbuilding industry, missile defense systems, and military personnel.”

“It also bolsters our cyber capabilities to prevent an attack on our private information and puts our Navy back on track to build a 355 Navy at a time when our enemies have larger fleets than ever,” Palazzo said. “2021 has been a tough year for us all. The last thing Americans need is to feel fearful for our national security. With this amendment, we can all go into the new year confident that our nation is equipped with a strong national defense budget.”

The $770 billion NDAA comes during a time when Russia is increasing its aggressions toward Ukraine, threatening to unsettle eastern Europe, a move Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker has warned would be a “gamechanger for free Europe.” Wicker spoke to this concern on FoxNews with Neil Cavuto on Tuesday (see the interview below).

The House passed NDAA includes $4 billion for the European Deterrence Initiative specifically aimed at turning back Russian aggression in the region.

Senator Wicker said President Biden should have all cards on the table in addressing the situation in Ukraine, including naval and ground force build up in the region. He added that the U.S. also should not “rule out first use nuclear action” against Russia.

Those comments quickly drew attention not just in D.C. but around the world, including in the Islam Times.

The House NDAA bill also includes a 2.7% pay raise for military service members.

About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications such as the Daily Caller. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father.