July 25, the House of Representatives passed the conference report to H.R. 5515, the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), by a vote of 359-54. The NDAA provides critical funding and lays out strategic policy direction for our national defense. The NDAA also provides resources to rebuild our military and authorizes additional aircraft and ships, including 77 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. Congresswoman Debbie Lesko, Arizona Congressional District 8, issued the following statement after voting in support of the conference report:

“Keeping Americans safe and providing for the common defense is the primary role of Congress. I am pleased to support the NDAA for FY19 which authorizes funding for 77 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters that pilots train for at Luke Air Force Base in my district. Additionally, the NDAA provides our men and women in uniform with a well-deserved pay raise of 2.6 percent, the largest in nine years. Rebuilding our military and restoring our readiness capabilities are challenges that cannot be solved overnight, but this legislation sets us on the path towards a strong, capable defense.”

The FY19 NDAA:

• Authorizes $639.1 billion in spending for base national defense requirements and $69 billion for Global War on Terror/Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) for a total of $708.1 billion. 

• Gives U.S. troops a 2.6-percent pay raise.

• Matches the president’s budget request of $2.8 billion for the procurement of spare airplane parts for the Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force. It also authorizes an additional $92 million for spare parts for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

• Authorizes 77 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, matching the president’s budget request. It grants additional authority to procure more F-35s if additional funds become available from utilizing cost savings and program efficiencies.

• Requires an assessment on Turkey’s participation in the F-35 program and prohibits the Department of Defense from delivering any F-35 aircraft to Turkey until the report is submitted.