|House Passes Defense Budget|
WASHINGTON - The House approved last night by a vote of 365-58 a spending bill that authorizes $288.8 billion for the nation's defense needs. That amount is an increase of more than $18 billion over last year's defense authorization.
The bill also provides $4.2 million requested by U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) to replace two installations at the Birmingham International Airport for the Alabama Air National Guard. The Alabama Air Guard contacted Bachus earlier this year and asked him to make the funding request to Congress.
"When this nation has faced a military crisis, it has turned to the Alabama Air National Guard again and again for support and participation. They are consistently among the first to be called up for active duty. The very least we can do is to make sure they have modern-day installations to meet their training and work needs," Bachus said.
The $4.2 million will go to build a new Base Engineering Maintenance Complex and a new Disaster Preparedness Facility in Birmingham.
"Both of the existing structures are World War II-era wood-frame facilities that are too small and do not meet current health and safety standards. Those buildings will be demolished and replaced. Construction plans call for steel-framed facilities with all utilities and modern fire protection and support systems," Bachus said.
The defense bill also contains a 4.8 percent military pay raise, measures to tighten security at the nation's nuclear weapons labs and language ordering U.S. troops home from Haiti by the end of this year.