Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to support the Conference Report on HR 4310, the Defense Authorization Act, citing benefits for our military men and women and boosts for job-creating small businesses.
“The brave men and women of America’s military are the best in the world and they and their families deserve our respect and support. I was proud to support a modest pay raise for our troops, blocking increases in TRICARE medical copays, and efforts to ensure a secure retirement for their future,” Senator Cardin said. “I thought it was important to provide resources for improved mental health support and suicide prevention programs, as well as initiatives to respond to and prevent sexual assault.
“As a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, I am pleased that the legislation permanently raises the surety bond guarantee limit from $2 million to $6.5 million, and adjusts it for inflation. I successfully included a provision in the Recovery Act that temporarily raised this limit to $5 million, which was an unqualified success that boosted small business contracting and economy recovery efforts.
“I was disappointed that the legislation continues the existing ban on transferring detainees from Guantanamo. I believe all detainees should be transferred elsewhere and the facility closed down so that it will no longer be a blight on America’s international human rights leadership.
“I also have concerns that a provision to cut the DoD civilian and contract workforce remained in the final conference report, however, I am confident that the President and the Secretary of Defense will abide by the specific language added in the conference report that makes clear that the ‘civilian personnel of the Department of Defense shall be managed each fiscal year solely on the basis of and consistent with the workload required to carry out the functions and activities of the department.’”