WASHINGTON–U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) released the following statements on the inclusion of the Seaman Xavier Sandor Support for Sailors Act, legislation they introduced, in the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act. The legislation would allow junior sailors to live in commercial housing when their assigned ship undergoes an extended maintenance overhaul in a shipyard. This follows the tragic suicide deaths of three sailors in two weeks aboard the USS George Washington, including Seaman Recruit Xavier Sandor from Shelton, Connecticut.

“The Xavier Sandor Support for Sailors Act would ensure the Navy never again fails to take care of junior sailors like Xavier, and it’s great to see bipartisan support for its inclusion in this year’s NDAA. I’m proud to have worked with the Sandor family to ensure no future sailor has to endure the deplorable conditions that their son faced aboard the USS George Washington. While the Navy has taken steps to improve conditions for sailors assigned to ships undergoing major overhauls, this legislation would provide permanent authority to prevent housing our sailors in conditions like those that caused Seaman Sandor’s suicide,” said Murphy.

“This legislation will help spare other Sailors from the abhorrent conditions confronting Xavier Sandor— no mental health care, unacceptable housing, and no access to relief. I was proud to see this bill through the Senate Armed Services Committee and am thrilled that our bill is included in the National Defense Authorization Act. There must be swift , bipartisan passage of this provision so that no Sailor has to experience what Xavier did. A Basic Allowance for Housing and enhanced mental health services are common sense measures to improve quality of life, and save lives,” said Blumenthal.

In May, Murphy and Blumenthal applauded the U.S. Navy’s announcement of steps to improve quality of life for sailors.  At a U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense hearing in March, Murphy highlighted the abhorrent conditions aboard the USS George Washington. In January, Murphy and Blumenthal sent a letter calling on the Navy to reform requirements governing the shipyard lives of sailors.