December 23, 2022

Congressman Castro Highlights Progress for San Antonio in 2023 NDAA

WASHINGTON – Today, President Joseph R. Biden signed the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for the Fiscal Year 2023 (Fiscal Year 2023 NDAA) into law, authorizing several provisions secured or supported by Congressman Castro, including new limits to surprise medical billing at Brooke Army Medical Center and new funding for Joint Base San Antonio. The Fiscal Year 2023 NDAA also authorizes a 4.6% pay raise for servicemembers and the DOD civilian workforce, along with improvements to military and dental health care and on-base services.

“Every year, Congress has important debates about the size of our national defense budget, but federal investments in our servicemembers will always be a sacred priority,” said Congressman Castro. “This year’s NDAA includes a well-deserved military pay raise and new investments in on-base services for military families to improve their lives and strengthen troop retention. I’m extremely pleased that the NDAA will also enact legislation I wrote to limit surprise medical billing at Brooke Army Medical Center and protect civilians who receive trauma care at the Army’s premier medical training center. As this bill becomes law, I wish all of America’s military families a happy holiday season and a wonderful new year.”

Funding for Joint Base San Antonio in the Fiscal Year 2023 NDAA includes:

  • $58.6 million for JBSA to construct an Ambulatory Care Dental Center replacement
  • $29 million for JBSA-Randolph to construct a Child Development Center 
  • $5.4 million for JBSA-Lackland to construct BMT Recruit Dormitories

Provisions secured by Congressman Castro in the Fiscal Year 2023 NDAA include:

Limits to Surprise Medical Bills at Brooke Army Medical Center

The FY2023 NDAA includes a provision authored by Congressman Castro that requires the Director of the Defense Health Agency to implement a modified payment plan based on a sliding-scale discount program for civilians who are underinsured or at risk for financial harm who receive treatment at Military Treatment Facilities (MTFs) including Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio.

This provision follows an amendment that Congressman Castro secured in the FY2021 NDAA to provide MTFs with the flexibility to waive medical bills for civilians. BAMC is one of two Level 1 Trauma Centers in San Antonio and must treat civilians to maintain its accreditation for graduate medical education. In recent years, civilians have faced high medical bills after receiving trauma care at BAMC, even though their care helps prepare military medical professionals to meet the medical needs of American servicemembers.

Investments in America’s Workforce and National Security Research 

The FY2023 NDAA also includes provisions authored or co-authored by Congressman Castro in his capacity as chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Development, International Organizations, and Global Corporate Social Impact and as a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that will:

  • Improve student internship opportunities at the State Department by providing the Department with permanent authority to pay its interns and requiring it to transition its internships to a paid program in the coming years. The legislation also describes new parameters for the student internship program, including considerations for diversity and requirements for housing and travel costs to be covered for certain interns serving in D.C. or abroad.
  • Support the employment of U.S. citizens by international organizations by providing additional authorities and funding avenues to place qualified Americans at UN agencies, including through the Junior Professional Officer program.
  • Restore U.S. leadership in international organizations by authorizing the State Department to provide housing allowances to nine additional members of the Foreign Service who are serving in New York City at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Under current law, the State Department is only able to provide a housing allowance to 32 members of the Foreign Service who are serving at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, a restriction that has prevented the United States from properly staffing the Mission.
  • Expand training and professional development opportunities for the civil and foreign service at the State Department by providing authorities to strengthen the Foreign Service Institute, including through additional training offerings, new fellowship programs for Foreign and Civil Service, and other provisions to improve the training of U.S. diplomats.
  • Provide pay equity for government employees working abroad by requiring members of the Civil Service under a Department Employee Teleworking Overseas (DETO) agreement (most often provided to military/foreign service spouses or dependents) to be paid either at what they would have been paid in the United States or what a member of the Foreign Service at an equivalent level serving overseas is paid. 
  • Expedite the declassification of CIA historical records by requiring the CIA Historical Review Panel to report directly to the Director of the CIA and requiring that the Inspector General of the CIA submit a report to Congress that outlines the CIA’s declassification efforts.
  • Improve diversity within the Intelligence Community by requiring the Director of National Intelligence to submit a report to Congress that documents barriers or obstacles to promotion for women and minorities, proposals to overcome those barriers, and summarizes existing efforts to strengthen the promotion pipeline for underrepresented populations in the Intelligence Community. 
  • Expand open-source translations of strategically important materials by requiring the Director of National Intelligence to submit a report to Congress on how the Intelligence Community can translate foreign language materials and publish them for the use of policymakers, academics, journalists, and others.