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Press Release

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor: Democrats Lead Passage of Bipartisan Defense Bill, Now On Its Way to President Biden’s Desk

Military and MacDill Air Force Base Service Members on Track for Pay Raise

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL-14) released the following statement upon passage of the bipartisan, bicameral FY2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report.

“Our military service members and their families deserve our support and I am pleased that the FY2024 NDAA will provide a pay raise for our service members, strengthen America’s national security and protect our strategic alliances.

“Extreme MAGA Republicans delayed adoption of the bill for months and used America’s national security as leverage to try to force their radical agenda on America. In the end, more Democrats than Republicans voted to support our country and our military through the NDAA as Congress limped out of town with little to show for the year marked by turmoil among the GOP.

“I am proud to have championed important provisions in the defense bill that will directly support MacDill Air Force Base service members and their families, including a pay raise and improvements to on-base housing, health care and child care. As Co-Chair of the Special Forces Caucus, I strongly pressed for support for our Special Operations Forces global missions through combat development activities, cyberspace operations, and INDOPACOM MISO.

“We owe it to our service members to continue working to lower the cost of living. That’s why I fought to deliver on President Biden’s request for a 5.2 percent pay raise for our troops, which will give service members and their families a needed boost as inflation slows. The NDAA will help more military families balance their budgets by expanding eligibility for the Basic Needs Allowance, which helps lower grocery and housing costs.

“Importantly, the NDAA will take significant steps in improving child care for military families, including by investing $301 million in military construction for new child development centers and $60 million in additional funds for planning and design to accelerate child development center replacements.

“U.S. service members and their families at MacDill and around the world deserve housing that is safe and clean and free of mold and shoddy construction. The NDAA includes significant investments to continue improving military housing and strengthens oversight of the conditions of housing units.

“As overheating, rising sea levels and stronger storms impact operations at MacDill, the NDAA takes steps to tackle the effects of climate change and safeguard our national security and military readiness. This bipartisan bill not only rejects extreme Republican provisions that would have prevented action on climate resilience, but this year’s NDAA will also promote energy efficiency and counter harmful impacts on the environment while protecting the health of our service members, including a record $650 million investment in energy resilience and energy conservation.

“While Republicans spent months fighting amongst themselves – fixating on attempts to restrict health care for women service members and limit the Department of Defense’s ability to recruit and retain a diverse workforce – Democrats stood ready to work in a bipartisan way to better support our service members and their families while addressing pressing national security issues. Once again, Democrats proved we are committed to putting People Over Politics for the good of our country.”

Supporting Military Service Members and their Families:

  1. 5.2% pay raise
  2. Expanded eligibility for the Basic Needs Allowance (BNA)
  3. Increases investments in child development centers
  4. Improves Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) eligibility

Military Housing:

  1. Increases housing allowances
  2. Establishes the Military Family Readiness Working Group for Military Housing
  3. Improves privatized military housing units
  4. Increases oversight of military housing conditions

Health Care:

  1. Increases access to mental and physical health care services
  2. Reduces out-of-pocket costs and expands delivery of health care benefits


  1. Improves the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) to help service members transition to civilian life through the Skillbridge and Troops to Teachers initiatives
  2. Improves the processing of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) disability claims
  3. Increases the participation of Veteran-owned small businesses in federal contracts

The FY2024 NDAA Conference Report passed by a margin of 310-118 in the House, with 163 Democrats and 147 Republicans voting “Yea”. The bill now heads to President Biden for signing.

U.S. Rep. Castor is a member of the powerful U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee and previously served on the U.S. House Armed Services Committee and as Chair of the former U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. Her district includes MacDill Air Force Base and is home to U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), two of the Armed Forces’ most important military commands.  MacDill Air Force Base’s 6th Air Refueling Wing is the centerpiece of the U.S. Air Force’s Global Vigilance, Global Reach, Global Power mission with its essential functions of aerial refueling.  The base’s mission is vital to keeping America safe and ready for any contingencies we may face as a nation.