Luján Secures Wins with Senate Passage of Defense Authorization Bill

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) applauded Senate passage of the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that authorizes $857.9 billion for New Mexico’s military bases, national labs, and servicemembers. The legislation also provides for additional security assistance to Ukraine and prioritizes strategic competition with China and Russia.

The NDAA sets the spending levels and policies for the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Energy (DOE), including national security programs at Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories, as well as DOE environmental cleanup programs.

“Today, I was honored to join the Senate in approving the annual defense authorization bill that makes a historic investment in our armed services, ensuring they are ready to meet the national security challenges of the 21st century,” said Luján. “With four military installations and two National Laboratories, New Mexico plays a vital role in maintaining our national security and this legislation will further our state’s impact. For servicemembers, it authorizes a much-needed pay raise, improves access to housing and child care services, and builds on the military justice reforms enacted last year that provide independent oversight of sexual assault cases.”

“I’m proud this NDAA also includes my amendment to build and develop the workforce at Los Alamos National Laboratory for critical programs that support their mission. It also includes provisions that I secured to bolster our water infrastructure to ensure our communities have water that is safe to drink and use,” Luján continued. “This legislation delivers strong investments across the board for the Department of Energy, ensuring New Mexico can continue to be on the forefront of science, energy, and military innovation.”

The NDAA authorizes a 4.6 percent pay raise for both military servicemembers and the Department of Defense civilian workforce, marking the largest Department-wide pay raise in two decades. It also makes additional modifications to military justice reforms enacted last year that provide independent oversight of sexual assault cases and ensures servicemembers have access to child care and quality housing.

The Senate passed the NDAA on a vote of 83 to 11. The legislation has passed both chambers of Congress with strong bipartisan support and now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

Key provisions Luján secured in the 2023 Defense Authorization Act:

Build and Develop Los Alamos National Laboratory Workforce

  • Authorizes management and operating contractors at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Savannah River site to develop and implement workforce development and training partnership programs to meet the requirements of missions at these locations.

Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories

  • Authorizes $22.3 billion for the activities of the National Nuclear Security Administration. Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories support NNSA’s national security mission.
  • Allows the NNSA the option to buy or lease real estate with authorized funds.

DOE Environmental Cleanup Activities

  • Authorizes $6.8 billion for defense environmental cleanup activities at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories. Specifically, $286.3 million for Los Alamos National Laboratory, $40.5 million for Los Alamos excess facilities, and $4 million for Sandia National Laboratories.

Secures the Authorization for New Mexico Military Installations

  • $15 million for the High Speed Test Track at Holloman Air Force Base
  • $3.6 million a Missile Assembly Building at White Sands Missile Range
  • $8 million for the Soft Construct Munitions Storage Area at Cannon Air Force Base
  • $4.1 million for a F–16 Formal Training Unit Airfield Requirements at Holloman Air Force Base
  • $11.1 million for the 58th SOW/PJ/CRO Pipeline Dorm (432 RM) at Kirtland Air Force Base
  • $2 million for the ADAL Systems & Digital Engineering Lab at Kirtland Air Force Base
  • $540,000 for the Explosives Operations Building at Kirtland Air Force Base
  • $4.7 million for the Joint Navigational Warfare Center at Kirtland Air Force Base
  • $4.4 million for the Space Rapid Capabilities Office (SPRCO) Headquarters Facility (P&D) at Kirtland Air Force Base
  • $600,000 for the New Mexico Army National Guard Vehicle Maintenance Shop in Rio Rancho, New Mexico

Extension of the Land Transfer Deadline

  • Extends the deadline for transfer of certain parcels of land to the county of Los Alamos, New Mexico and held in trust for the Pueblo of San Ildefonso from September 30, 2022 to September 30, 2032.

Bolstering Support for Ukraine

  • Provides $800 million in funding to support and assist Ukrainian Armed Forces and requires a comprehensive assessment of the oversight framework for U.S. assistance to Ukraine.
  • Includes over $6 billion for the European Deterrence Initiative to support deterrence and strengthen alliances and partnerships within the European Command area of operations;
  • Includes legislation that would impose sanctions on individuals who knowingly participate in a significant gold transactions with Russia;
  • Includes the Ukraine Invasion War Crimes Deterrence and Accountability Act, to establish the policy of the United States to collect, analyze, and preserve evidence related to war crimes and other atrocities committed during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The legislation enables the use of evidence in appropriate domestic, foreign, and international courts and tribunals prosecuting those responsible, consistent with applicable United States law.

Water Resources Development Act (WRDA)

  • Legislation that authorizes Army Corps of Engineers water projects nationwide.
  • Increases the Acequia Irrigation System section of WRDA by $27 million, and expanded program eligibility so that Tribes and Pueblos will be eligible to access this funding. Reduced the cost share from 75% federal, 25% non-federal to 90% federal, 10% non-federal for economically disadvantaged areas. This program is carried out by Army Corps and provides assistance so that parciantes can implement more resilient diversion structures and manage drought and invasive species, and support research, development, and training for water management solutions;
  • Increases Section 593, the Program for Central New Mexico from $50 million to $100 million to ensure drinking, waste, and storm water projects in Bernalillo, Valencia, and Sandoval counties can employ infrastructure to address flooding and improve water quality;
  • Increases the Western Rural Water program by $55 million to provide communities throughout the West, including New Mexico, with much needed funds for drinking, waste, and storm water projects;
  • Reduced the cost share for the Middle Rio Grande Flood Protection project from 65% federal, 35% non-federal to 75% federal, 25% non-federal.

Other Items

  • Includes the Federal Firefighters Fairness Act, which Senator Luján cosponsored, to improve firefighters’ access to injury and illness benefits through an automatic presumption that an illness on a science-based list.



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