Today, the House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020. Congressman Richard E. Neal joined 377 of his colleagues in passing the measure that includes long-sought reforms, like 12-weeks of Paid Paternal Leave for all federal employees, a 3.1 percent pay raise for our troops, and a repeal of the “widow’s tax.”
This bill includes a major victory for Springfield-based company CRRC MA, as well. CRRC’s Springfield plant has secured contracts to assemble the rail rolling stock mass transit cars for the MBTA (Boston), SEPTA (Philadelphia) and LACMTA (Los Angeles). However, a provision included in NDAA would have prohibited these local transit agencies from contracting with CRRC, effectively eliminating any future growth opportunities.
“I am happy that I was able to work with my colleagues in the Senate to amend the NDAA language to allow CRRC Springfield to continue to work on secured bids,” said Congressman Richard E. Neal. “This compromise means that CRRC will be able to maintain and protect the nearly 200 employees based out of the Springfield facility. Employees will continue their work without disruption to existing contracts with public entities like the MBTA; which has currently placed orders for Red & Orange Line railcars at a value of $800 million. These railcars are being built for Massachusetts residents by Massachusetts residents at a competitive wage with negotiated health and retirement benefits. This employer is important to Springfield and the region.”
Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno states, “Once again our well respected and seasoned Congressman, Chairman Neal delivers for Springfield and his district. This not only saves good paying manufacturing jobs at our CRRC plant, just as important, it allows for expansion to create more new jobs. ‘Richie’ has continued to show how to work in a bipartisan fashion to get positive initiatives done for Springfield, his district and our nation.”
“On behalf of Smart Local 63 in Springfield, Massachusetts I am writing to thank Chairman Neal for putting the jobs and livelihood of hundreds of our union members employed at CRRC MA’s manufacturing facility first,” said John Scavotto, Jr., Business Manager of Sheet Metal Workers Local 63. “His tenacity on Capitol Hill saved jobs for hundreds of workers right here in his own backyard -- Western Massachusetts. This was no easy feat yet he was able to negotiate CRRC MA’s ability to continue to execute and identify rail contracts which is remarkable. We can’t express how grateful we are for his unwavering support and hard work to ensure our City experiences economic growth and job creation. As we approach the holidays we thank Chairman Neal for the early Christmas present. We are proud to have him representing Western Massachusetts.”
This bill also includes important provisions that directly affect constituents in central and western Massachusetts including:
• Closing a loophole to allow National Guard bases access the Defense Environmental Remediation Account funds to address PFOS and PFOA exposure and contamination. In addition, the bill bans the Department of Defense’s (DOD) use of fire fighting agents containing PFAS by 2024 and forces the DOD to prioritize the effort to find a safe alternative.
• Authorizes $75 million for Defense Community Infrastructure Program (DCIP) which assist states and local governments in addressing deficiencies in community infrastructure projects or facilities that are located outside of military installations but that support military installations like the ones in Chicopee and Westfield.
• Authorizes funds on projects that benefit companies across the First Congressional District such as General Dynamics in Pittsfield and Warren Pumps in Warren.
More information on the bill can be found here.