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Baird touts 3 points from House's draft of 2021 NDAA

Baird touts 3 points from House's draft of 2021 NDAA

The House of Representatives passed its draft of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2021 with a veto-proof majority last week, and Congressman Jim Baird (R-IN 4th District) spoke with The Times on Thursday about three features he hopes will be in the final bill that will go to the president.

Baird mentioned that there were some points of contention before coming up with the House’s draft of the NDAA.

“We are struggling to come up with bipartisan legislation,” Baird said. “But there were some features in this NDAA, which had usually been a very bipartisan bill. But it is important to the safety of our country.”

The first feature of the House’s draft that Baird was glad to see is the consideration of a pay raise for military personnel.

“We are considering a 3 percent raise,” Baird said. “That is important, if you are going to ask people to go into a combat zone and risk everything, that we have sufficient compensation and then the benefits they need when they come home to move forward.

“Another is nuclear modernization,” Baird added. “We don’t spend a lot of time talking about that, but it does serve as a deterrent to our advisories around the world knowing that we have that capability. So, it is important to keep those facilities strong and functional.”

Baird also spoke in support of funding for the Indo-Pacific Deterrence Initiative.

“The thing that has come out of this pandemic is the culpability of the Chinese communist party and their unwillingness to share information early about this coronavirus,” Baird said. “But it has revealed their long-term desire to be a completely functional world power, and they constantly look for ways to improve that status. One thing is their efforts in the South China Sea and efforts to upgrade their military. In this legislation, we provide funding to create an Indo-Pacific Deterrence Initiative, which really means that we are staying ahead of them in that region. But, I think that is important – the well-being of our country and safety of our people.”

On a side note, Baird mentioned that his annual Service Academy Information Day will be held via Zoom this year.

“Every year, we nominate candidates to service academies,” Baird said. “So, we have a virtual Service Academy Information Day scheduled for Aug. 8 from 10-11 a.m. Anyone interested in attending one of those academies, which turns out to be an excellent opportunity for these young people, that will be a Zoom meeting. That is designed for students in grades 8-12. So, that would be an early taste for an 8th grader, if it is something they are looking into.”

July 29 is the final day to RSVP for the virtual Service Academy Day by calling Baird’s district office at 317-563-5567.