Our Congressman weighs the pros and cons of bill up for vote today.
Our representative Howard “Buck” McKeon spoke to reporters this morning regarding the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009, which is to be taken up today by Congress. The bill made its way out of the House Armed Services Committee, where McKeon holds membership.
With the bill comes authorization of $531.4 billion for the department of defense for the 2009 fiscal year, and $70 billion to fund the war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. While McKeon said the legislation isn’t perfect, he did feel it was a “good bill.”
Some pros and cons, according to McKeon:
Personnel increases for the Army (7,000 more) and Marines (5,000 more) should help meet some impending needs. In addition, the bill provides money for mine resistant vehicles for our troops and calls for a yearly report on Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
As for the cons, McKeon expressed disappointment that there were reductions in the European Missile Defense Systems and that there were no amendments passed to increase survivor benefits for family members of troops who are killed in action. “As a nation, we could never adequately repay our brave men and women in uniform or their families for the sacrifices they make to protect our freedom,” McKeon told reporters.
Also not included in this bill was a proposed independent study into the feasibility of space based defense.
The local touch of this bill is apparent, and McKeon’s office issued a list of companies in Santa Clarita that would benefit. Nearly $5 million is included for Vista Controls with Curtiss Wright to develop a system that will allow military vehicles to be constantly updated without a full re-design. Pacific Scientific Energetic Materials Company is also poised to receive $2.5 million to develop a Micro Arm Fire Device to increase the safety of the military’s rockets.
Just north of Santa Clarita, Edwards Air force Base received $6 million to help finish off a new runway.