Congress Passes Legislation to Expand Commissary Access to Military HeroesAugust 1, 2018, 11:26 AM HST (Updated August 1, 2018, 12:10 PM)
On Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018, the U.S. Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2018, which includes two bills authored by Sen. Brian Schatz. The Schatz provisions will open access to commissaries to military heroes—including recipients of the Purple Heart or Medal of Honor and disabled veterans and their caregivers—and protect military bases from flooding by making sure facility planners are aware of and consider recurrent flood risks when building or designing facilities. The bill now heads to the president’s desk to be signed into law.
“With my legislation set to become law, we will finally open up our commissaries to war heroes,” said Sen. Schatz. “My legislation will also make sure we build stronger and smarter military bases so that our armed forces can continue to protect American interests at home and around the world.”
The NDAA includes funding authorization for Hawai‘i priorities:
- $66.1 million to fund a new corrosion control hangar at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay;
- $78.3 million to fund a water transmission line at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam;
- $45 million to fund a new drydock waterfront facility at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam;
- $17 million to construct an addition for the F-22 low-observable/composite reserve facility at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam;
- $105 million to fund the fourth increment of the new U.S. Army Pacific mission command facility at Fort Shafter; and
- $50 million for a rotary wing parking apron at Wheeler Army Airfield, a project the Army identified in its Hawai‘i Infrastructure Readiness Initiative and critical to aviation readiness.
Once signed into law, the Appropriations Committee will have the authority to provide federal funding for these defense projects. As lead Democrat on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, Sen. Schatz will work with committee leaders to ensure these priorities are funded in the appropriations process.