Armed Services

armed-services.jpgThe military is critical to Eastern North Carolina’s economy and way of life. We are privileged to have America’s brave residing in our district.

Where I Stand

The military is critical to Eastern North Carolina. I am blessed and honored to represent the incredible heroes and their families stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station, and Marine Corps Air Station New River. As a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, I do all I can to fight for Eastern North Carolina’s military installations and for the courageous men and women — past, present, and future — who protect our freedom.

My commitment to our service members and their families is unwavering. I have been a leader on securing pay increases, education opportunities, and better healthcare for military personnel while opposing any benefit cuts. I will always support the men and women of the military, even against the occasional injustice found in their own service. I have supported and cleared multiple officers and enlisted personnel when they were falsely accused of wrongdoing by their chains of command. I will continue to stand with the men and women in uniform, because they stand up for us.

I believe in a strong national defense. As part of that effort, I have been and continue to be a leading supporter of the F-35B and the V-22 Osprey. These aircraft are the future of Marine Corps aviation and are vital to our national defense. Additionally, much of the depot level maintenance for these aircraft will be performed by Fleet Readiness Center – East (FRC-East) in Eastern North Carolina’s Craven County. FRC – East is not only the largest employer east of Interstate 95, it is a national asset. The work force is world class, and I am proud of their many accomplishments in keeping Marine aviation flying through 10 years of war. As the co-chair of the House Depot Caucus, I will continue to be the most vocal supporter of FRC-East in this Congress.

Legislative Action in the 113th Congress

Introduced Legislation

H. R. 124 - Would redesignate the Department of the Navy as the Department of the Navy and Marine Corps.

H.R. 343 - Would ensure that military chaplains have the prerogative to close a prayer outside of a religious service according to the dictates of the chaplains’ own conscience.

H.R. 1236 - Would require any physical evaluation board within the Department of Defense (DOD) to consider issues related to post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, or other mental health condition of a member or former member of the Armed Forces to include a behavioral health professional (BHP) as a board member. Additionally, it would require the BHP to serve in lieu of the medical member of such board unless, as a result of the health-related issues being presented, the board would benefit from the presence of both the BHP and the medical member.

Cosponsored Legislation

H.R. 258 – Stolen Valor Act of 2013 – Would amend the federal criminal code to rewrite provisions relating to individuals who — in an attempt to obtain money, property, or other tangible benefit — hold out to be a recipient of a military honor to which they are not entitled. These individuals would be subject to a fine, imprisonment for up to a year, or both.

H.R. 330 – Distinguished Flying Cross National Memorial Act - Would designate a memorial located at March Field Air Museum in Riverside, California, as the Distinguished Flying Cross National Memorial, in honor of current and former members of the armed forces who have been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

H.R. 342 – Guarantee Paychecks for America’s Military Families Act - Would prioritize, in the event that the public debt of the U.S. government reaches the statutory limit, the following obligations over all others: (1) the Secretary of the Treasury to pay with legal tender the principal and interest on debt held by the public (2) the Secretary of Defense (DOD) and the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) to pay members of the Armed Forces the earned pay, allowances, and other compensation paid from military personnel accounts (3) the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security to carry out a contingency operation (as defined in existing provisions of federal military law), including the pay earned by civilian employees of the DOD and the Coast Guard serving in a combat zone.

H.R. 503 – National Desert Storm and Desert Shield War Memorial Act - Would authorize the National Desert Storm Memorial Association to establish a commemorative work on federal land in the District of Columbia to honor those who served on active duty in support of Operation Desert Storm or Operation Desert Shield.

H.R. 975 – Servicemember Mental Health Review Act - Would extend through 2014 — five years longer than current law — the authority of the Physical Disability Board of Review to review the disability determinations of certain individuals. It would pertain to individuals who, since September 11, 2001, are separated from the armed forces due to unfitness for duty because of a mental condition with a disability rating of 20% or less and are found to be ineligible for retirement. It would add to those eligible for such review individuals who, before December 31, 2014, are separated due to unfitness because of a mental condition not amounting to disability, including separation based on a personality or adjustment disorder.

H.R. 1223 – Fairness for Military Homeowners Act of 2013 – Would amend the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to ensure that service members are not prohibited from refinancing their homes because they were away on active-duty military service. It would also make such prohibition inapplicable to a service member who entered into a refinancing on their primary residence within the past five years.

H.R. 1333 – Military Family Leave Act of 2013 - Would entitle an employed relative of a member of the armed forces who receives notification of a call or order to active duty in support of a contingency operation, or who is deployed in connection with a contingency operation, to two work weeks of leave per year for each family member who is so called or deployed. It further goes on to address parameters associated with this benefit.

H.R. 1497 – War Memorial Protection Act – Would amend title 36, United States Code, to ensure that memorials commemorating the service of the United States Armed Forces may contain religious symbols

H.R.1620 – Military Spouse Job Continuity Act of 2013 – Would amend the Internal Revenue Code to allow the spouse of a member of the armed forces who moves with such member to another state under a permanent change of station order a tax credit for up to $500 of qualified relicensing costs.

H.R. 1796 – Troop Talent Act of 2013 - Would ensure that the education and training provided to members of the armed forces and veterans better assists members and veterans in obtaining civilian certifications and licenses.