June 27, 2019

Senate Approves Military Funding Bill with Whitehouse’s Bipartisan Energy Amendments

NDAA also includes Whitehouse provision to secure justice for victims of Iranian terrorism

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) today applauded Senate passage of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), an annual policy bill that authorizes appropriations for the Department of Defense.  In addition to providing robust support for the men and women of the armed forces, the legislation includes bipartisan provisions authored by Whitehouse to improve the military’s energy security and reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and oceans.  The legislation also incorporates a Whitehouse proposal to help secure justice for victims of the 1983 Iranian terror attack on a U.S. Marine Barracks in Lebanon.

“This legislation invests in protecting the men and women of the armed forces now and over the long term,” said Whitehouse.  “Climate change is a serious concern for our military.  Bases at home and around the world are threatened by rising seas, and the risk of conflict abroad will grow as vital resources become scarcer.  Investing the military’s exceptional research capabilities in the development of technology to remove carbon dioxide from the air could make overseas military installations safer and more self-sufficient while unlocking solutions to climate change and creating new jobs.”

The NDAA includes a provision authored by Whitehouse along with Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) to improve the U.S. military’s energy security and reduce carbon emissions.  The provision is identical to the Securing Energy for our Armed Forces Using Engineering Leadership (SEA FUEL) Act, which would encourage military researchers to pioneer new technologies that will capture carbon dioxide from air and seawater and convert it to clean fuels or other useful products.  The U.S. Navy has already patented a technology that would remove excess carbon dioxide from ocean water and turn it into fuel. 

The legislation also includes the bipartisan USE IT Act, which supports carbon utilization and direct air capture research.  Whitehouse and Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) sponsored the USE IT Act to support federal research to advance nascent technologies that remove carbon pollution from the atmosphere.  It would also encourage coordination to help facilitate the build-out of infrastructure necessary for the deployment of carbon capture technologies. 

In addition, the NDAA contains a bill sponsored by Whitehouse and Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) to help American terror victims and their families collect financial judgments against Iran for its involvement in the 1983 bombing of a U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon.  The devastating bombing killed 220 Marines and dozens of other personnel, including nine Rhode Islanders.  The attack was perpetrated by Hezbollah, a terror group founded, trained, and financially supported by the Iranian regime.  The legislation will allow the families of the bombing victims to execute on $1.68 billion in Iranian assets.

The NDAA was approved by the Senate in an 86 to 8 vote, and heads to conference with a House version of the legislation. 


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