Press Releases

Kuster Praises Passage of Legislation to Provide a Pay Raise to Our Troops, Fund PFAS Cleanup, and Empower Survivors to Report Military Sexual Assaults

Rep. Kuster released the following statement after the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act


“I am proud the House came together in a bipartisan way to pass the National Defense Authorization Act,” said Rep. Kuster. “In these difficult times for our country, it is important for the American public to see elected leaders working together to protect our nation. This bill provides a well-earned pay raise for our men and women in uniform, removes the shameful legacy of the Confederacy from military installations, and will improve access to childcare for Department of Defense families. Most importantly, this bill ensures that our country maintains a strong national defense during a global pandemic and recognizes New Hampshire's unique role in maintaining our national security.”


The National Defense Authorization Act contains important provisions to support our troops, improve readiness, and keep the country safe, including:


  • Provides a 3% pay increase for our men and women in uniform.
  • Expands upon the paid parental leave benefits provided in the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act to ensure that employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Federal Aviation Administration, and other civilian federal employees receive this parental leave benefit. 
  • Provides long-overdue benefits to Vietnam-era veterans exposed to Agent Orange, ensuring that a wider range of illnesses associated with exposure to Agent Orange are covered by the VA.
  • Authorizes $1.4 billion in funding for environmental cleanup of PFAS chemicals at military installations and formerly utilized defense sites.
  • Establishes an independent commission to make binding recommendations to remove the names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederacy within the Department of Defense.
  • Requires the Secretary of Defense to develop a more accurate system to reimburse childcare costs incurred by servicemembers and DOD’s civilian employees that takes into account the cost of childcare where they live. 
  • Empowers military sexual assault survivors to report sexual assaults without fear of being punished for minor collateral misconduct.
  • Ensures DOD considers the role of overdose reversal drugs as part of their plan to combat prescription opioid misuse.


The legislation also contains a study on factors that lead to women post-9/11 veterans experiencing unemployment. During the pandemic, the unemployment rate for women post-9/11 veterans surged above the national average to 20%. This provision will help Congress prevent future surges moving forward.