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Congress Greenlights Four Ernst Defense Priorities to Strengthen, Protect America’s Homeland

The Ernst priorities range from efforts to bolster America’s stockpile of critical minerals to her push to build defense coalitions against Iran.

WASHINGTON – Four major defense priorities authored and championed by U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) to protect America’s homeland are poised to advance one step closer to becoming law as part of this year’s annual defense bill.

Just yesterday, the Senate released its version of the annual defense bill—called the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023—just days after the U.S. House passed its version of the bill. Four of Ernst’s priorities, which range from efforts to bolster America’s stockpile of critical minerals to her push to build defense coalitions against Iran, were included in both the Senate and the U.S. House versions of the NDAA, greatly increasing their chances of becoming law.

“A strong America on the world stage makes a safe America at home, which is why it’s so important we make critical and strategic investments and policy decisions about our national defense and security,” said Senator Joni Ernst, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a combat veteran. “My priorities in the annual defense bill reflect the serious and urgent needs of America’s military and defense posture for the modern era, and I’m pleased Democrats and Republicans across Congress agree. I’ll continue fighting to get these efforts across the finish line.”

The following Ernst priorities were included in the Senate and House versions of the NDAA:

  • Key parts of her HARD ROCK Act (Homeland Acceleration of Recovering Deposits and Renewing Onshore Critical Keystones Act) – This bipartisan bill refocuses the U.S. National Defense Stockpile (NDS) to ensure our nation is securing the strategic and critical materials we need to meet our national security demands for the modern era, lowering our dependence on China.
  • Key parts of her DEFEND Act (Deterring Enemy Forces and Enabling National Defenses Act) – This bipartisan legislation develops a strategic approach among Middle East countries included in the Abraham Accords, such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, aimed at combatting Iranian aggression in the region.
  • A provision to allow the Ukrainian military to get demining training for the Black Sea – This provision cuts red tape within the Pentagon to accelerate demining training for Ukrainians so they can expedite grain out of the Black Sea.
  • An initiative to stop the Department of Defense from procuring energy from foreign adversaries and entities of concern, specifically North Korea, Iran, Russia, and China.