The U.S. House of Representatives today approved the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which sets policy and authorizes funding for the U.S. military. The bipartisan legislation includes a major provision spearheaded by U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park, Fla., which will help the nearly 250,000 servicemembers who leave the military each year better transition to civilian life and provide for their families. The House passed the NDAA by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote.
“We in Congress must fight for servicemembers as hard as they fight for us,” said Murphy. “As Americans, it is our duty to ensure our servicemembers have the tools they need to succeed—not only on the battlefield, but also in school or in the workforce after they leave the military. Our military produces some of the most talented, well-trained, and disciplined individuals in the world, but too many of these warriors struggle to transition to civilian life. I am proud to have secured a provision in the NDAA that will better prepare our servicemembers to succeed on whichever path they choose to take once they complete their military service.”
Murphy’s provision in the annual defense bill will add goal-specific workshops to the core curriculum of the Transition Assistance Program (TAP), which prepares departing servicemembers for civilian life. Specifically, the provision ensures that servicemembers will have the option to attend a two-day workshop on (1) accessing higher education, (2) career and technical training, or (3) entrepreneurship. Servicemembers will complete a targeted two-day workshop, while also receiving standard TAP trainings on financial management, VA benefits, and job-searching skills. Servicemembers may elect to forgo attending one of the workshops and, instead, receive an additional two days of employment counseling sponsored by the Department of Labor.
The provision that Murphy secured in the NDAA is rooted in a bipartisan bill she introduced with U.S. Representative Jack Bergman, R-Mich., a retired three-star Marine Corps General. Murphy filed this bill, called the BATTLE for Servicemembers Act, after meeting with her veteran advisory board, which raised concerns regarding the lack of preparation servicemembers receive before leaving active duty. Several influential veterans service organizations endorsed Murphy’s bill, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Student Veterans of America (SVA), and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). Recently, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators introduced Murphy’s bill in the U.S. Senate.
In addition to her provision to prepare departing servicemembers for civilian life, Murphy also secured provisions in the NDAA to enable small businesses to obtain low-interest loans; to strengthen Orlando’s world-leading modeling, simulation, and training community and its cyber community; to protect Israel against rocket and missile threats; and to enhance the Department of Defense’s efforts to combat the opioid epidemic. For a detailed list of the provisions Murphy secured in the NDAA, click here.