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Rep. Porter Secures Consumer Protection, Pentagon Oversight Provisions in House-Passed National Defense Bill

All five amendments offered by Congresswoman accepted on a broad bipartisan basis

The House of Representatives has passed a key defense bill with five amendments by Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45), including provisions to strengthen Pentagon oversight, increase consumer protections for servicemembers, and study risks to national security posed by social media companies. These amendments were accepted on a broad bipartisan basis and included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021 that passed the House by a vote of 295-125.

“National security means keeping our troops safe and ready to fight, both at home and overseas,” said Congresswoman Porter. “This bill strengthens training, equipment, and military healthcare, and I was proud to fight for additional measures to protect servicemembers and their families from financial predators, medical scams, and violent extremists.”

“Pentagon bureaucrats should be held to the same high standards as troops in the field,” continued Congresswoman Porter. “That is why I was proud to offer amendments requiring that acting Inspectors General be qualified for their roles, and to roll back Secretary Esper’s anti-transparency policies at the Department of Defense.” 

Porter’s amendments to the upcoming year’s NDAA would:

  • Increase protections for servicemembers who are victims of credit reporting bureau misconduct; 
  • Direct a government watchdog to investigate predatory social media targeting servicemembers, military families, and veterans;
  • Require that Inspector General vacancies be filled by qualified individuals currently serving in the office of an Inspector General;
  • Reinstate the policy that annual Department of Defense legislative requests for the NDAA are made public; and
  • Boost research in California’s 45th District and around the country by strengthening Army University Research Initiatives.

The provisions related to Inspector General vacancies are part of the Congresswoman’s Accountability for Acting Officials Act. This legislation would limit who can serve as an “acting” official and for how long, closing various loopholes in the current law. The bill would also ramp up transparency and reporting by acting officials.

Of the provisions related to Inspector General Vacancies, which were included in the NDAA, Liz Hempowicz, Director of Public Policy at the Project on Government Oversight said, “Inspectors General have one of the most important roles in the federal government - to conduct independent and nonpartisan oversight from within the executive branch. Representative Porter's amendment would ensure that any temporary vacancy in an inspectors general office will be filled with a qualified individual who understands the important work of these offices. POGO applauds the inclusion of this amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act.”

Porter also helped lead successful efforts for NDAA provisions to strengthen ethics laws and transparency at the Pentagon and restore public access to quarterly reports showing the number of U.S. troops deployed around the world.