Major MOAA-Backed Improvements for Troops, Families Part of Initial NDAA Bill

Major MOAA-Backed Improvements for Troops, Families Part of Initial NDAA Bill
Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.), ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee's Quality of Life Panel, holds up a copy of the panel's report during an April 17 speech to MOAA members at the conclusion of Advocacy in Action 2024. (Photo by Mike Morones/MOAA)

A series of reforms and new programs designed to improve the lives of servicemembers and their families moved from a panel report to the text of legislation in just a few short days, thanks in part to a bipartisan effort relying on input from military advocacy groups including MOAA.


The base text of the House version of the FY 2025 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will include recommendations from the House Armed Services Committee’s Quality of Life Panel, a bipartisan group whose plans to address a series of challenges faced by the all-volunteer force include several MOAA priorities.


Among the improvements: Pay raises for junior enlisted and programs targeting persistent issues with child care, health care, and spouse employment.



[AIA 2024: Event Recap | Ask Your Lawmakers to Restore BAH]


“The importance of this panel's work on behalf of our servicemembers and their families can't be overstated – both in the meaningful changes and improvements the members propose, and in the way this legislation came together: Bipartisan teamwork to better understand the needs of the military community and identify solutions,” said MOAA President and CEO Lt. Gen. Brian T. Kelly, USAF (Ret). “MOAA looks forward to helping Congress finish the job and ensure the NDAA includes policies that will make a real difference to those who serve, especially junior members who need the most support.”


Building Solutions

MOAA’s involvement with the panel responsible for these significant reforms started early and covered both sides of the aisle. Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), a retired Air Force brigadier general and MOAA member, chaired the panel and outlined its mission in an interview with MOAA last year. And Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.), a former Air Force officer and the panel’s ranking member, spoke during MOAA’s AiA event April 17, outlining the NDAA moves and seeking continued support from the association as the bill moves forward.


[RELATED: MOAA President Outlines Key Priorities for New House Quality of Life Panel]


Bacon, Houlahan, and the rest of the panel joined as initial co-sponsors of the new legislation – H.R. 8070, officially dubbed the Servicemember Quality of Life Improvement Act – which was introduced by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), the House Armed Services Committee chairman, and Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), its ranking member.


“Servicemembers should never have to worry about making ends meet, putting food on the table, or affording housing,” Rogers said in a release announcing the new bill. “Improving the quality of life for our servicemembers and their families is my number one priority – we’re going to get this done.”


The committee plans to meet the week of May 20 to consider the legislation and add “additional legislative text,” per the release, which may address other MOAA legislative priorities. The base text stands at 35 pages; last year’s final NDAA approached 1,000 pages.


[RELATED: Senior Enlisted Leaders Sound Alarms at House Quality of Life Hearing]


The must-pass NDAA serves as a way for Congress to “reiterate our unwavering commitment to investing in the greatest source of our country’s strength: service members and their families,” Smith said in the release. “This year’s bill leaves no doubt that the heart of America’s defense will get the recognition and resources they need and deserve.” 


Keep up with the NDAA process, and learn more about the quality of life improvements included in the legislation, by visiting MOAA’s Advocacy News page.


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About the Author

Kevin Lilley
Kevin Lilley

Lilley serves as MOAA's digital content manager. His duties include producing, editing, and managing content for a variety of platforms, with a concentration on The MOAA Newsletter and Follow him on X: @KRLilley