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Defense funding priorities pass the Senate

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, on Aug. 24 announced that several Missouri and national defense priorities were included in the FY2019 Defense Appropriations bill. The measure passed the Senate yesterday by a vote of 85-7.

“Our service members face a significant and increasingly complex challenge when it comes to keeping our country safe,” said Blunt. “The Senate’s number one responsibility is making sure they have what they need to carry out their missions. This bill provides our military with the largest pay increase in nearly a decade and invests in equipment and training to give our troops every possible advantage on the battlefield. Missouri’s military installations play a vital role in defending the nation, and this bill includes priorities that are important to Whiteman, Rosecrans, Fort Leonard Wood, and Missouri National Guard units. In addition, the measure provides funding for 24 Super Hornets, which are manufactured in St. Louis, and continues investments to modernize facilities like the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant. I’ll continue working to get this critical, bipartisan bill to the president’s desk.”

Following are Key Blunt-Backed Missouri and National Defense Priorities Included in the Bill:

•Military Pay Raise: The bill provides a military pay raise of 2.6 percent, the largest increase for service members in nearly a decade.

•End Strength Increases: The bill fully funds an active duty end strength of 1,329,461 and a reserve component end strength of 816,900, providing a total end strength increase of 6,961. The U.S. Army has called on Fort Leonard Wood to support basic combat training with previous end strength increases.

•Whiteman Air Force Base: The measure provides resources for the B-2 program and A-10 wing replacement. In addition, the bill provides research funding for the B-21, a next generation Air Force bomber that is currently under development.

•Rosecrans Air National Guard Base: The legislation provides additional funding for C-130 modernization, such as engines and propellers, to meet Air National Guard intra-theater airlift mobility requirements. Rosecrans Air National Guard Base is the nation’s premier Air Guard training center for Advanced Airlift Tactical Training.

•Missouri National Guard: The measure includes $320 million for the procurement of 15 Black Hawk helicopters. Whiteman Air Force Base is home to the Missouri National Guard 1-135th Assault Helicopter Battalion.

•Super Hornets: The bill provides funding for 24 Super Hornets, which are manufactured in St. Louis, Mo., to meet the U.S. Navy’s tactical aviation shortfall. In addition, the bill provides multiyear procurement authority to enter into a contract to ensure the production line in St. Louis stays active for years to come.

•Lake City Army Ammunition Plant: The bill includes $57 million in additional funding for Army industrial facilities. This funding will provide critical support to modernize facilities like Lake City Army Ammunition Plant near Independence, Mo.

•U.S. Air Force T-X Trainer: The bill provides full funding for the U.S. Air Force T-X trainer. The T-X trainer, which was designed in St. Louis and could be built there, is a two-seat trainer aircraft that would replace the decades-old T-38 trainer currently in use by the U.S. Air Force.

•Research Investments: The bill provides research funding for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Department of Defense. This funding will support research and development initiatives at the University of Missouri, and among defense industry leaders across the state. The bill also provides increased funding to continue groundbreaking medical research, which will save lives, reduce disability, and decrease the economic burden of traumatic injury.

•Impact Aid: The bill includes $50 million in additional funding for impact aid assistance to benefit Whiteman and Fort Leonard Wood area schools. Department of Defense Supplemental Impact Aid Assistance is critical to local school districts impacted by the presence of federally-owned land.

Senator Roy Blunt

Senator Roy Blunt

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