McCarthy seek­ing quake fund­ing

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Front Page - By ALLISON GATLIN Val­ley Press Staff Writer

With Naval Air Weapons Sta­tion China Lake sus­tain­ing con­sid­er­able dam­age dur­ing the July 4 and 5 earth­quakes, House Mi­nor­ity Leader Kevin McCarthy added an amend­ment to fund repairs there to the $733 bil­lion de­fense bud­get, which was passed by the House on Fri­day.

Th e epi­cen­ter of the two ma­jor quakes was on the vast base, which is within the Bak­ers­field Repub­li­can’s dis­trict, as is Ed­wards Air Force Base.

The amend­ment, ap­proved dur­ing de­lib­er­a­tions Thurs­day night, au­tho­rizes $100 mil­lion to ad­dress the base’s most im­me­di­ate needs and calls for a plan to be de­vel­oped by Oct. 1 to “as­sess, re­pair, and mod­ern­ize the in­fra­struc­ture and fa­cil­i­ties at China Lake” and other in­stal­la­tions which share the same re­stricted airspace, such as Ed­wards.

The base sus­tained dam­age that has left it in­ca­pable of per­form­ing its mis­sion and non-es­sen­tial per­son­nel were evac­u­ated, McCarthy said.

“This is sig­nif­i­cant be­cause China Lake, along with neigh­bor­ing in­stal­la­tions, form a cor­ner­stone of our na­tional de­fense ar­chi­tec­ture that in­te­grates all op­er­a­tional do­mains — air, land, sea, space, and cy­berspace. The men and women who work here help test and de­velop the tech­nol­ogy needed to equip our war-fight­ers with the very best weapons and tools to en­sure our mil­i­tary re­mains sec­ond to none,” McCarthy said in in­tro­duc­ing the amend­ment.

He also stressed this fund­ing was only the ini­tial step to help the base and

sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties im­pacted by the earth­quakes to re­cover.

While McCarthy sub­mit­ted the amend­ment to the Na­tional De­fense Au­tho­riza­tion Act, he voted against the fi­nal bill, which passed on a 220-197 party-line vote. No Repub­li­cans voted in fa­vor of the bill, stat­ing it weak­ened na­tional se­cu­rity on the whole.

The Val­ley’s other Con­gres­sional rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Rep. Katie Hill, voted in fa­vor of the de­fense bud­get.

The Agua Dulce Demo­crat high­lighted lo­cal im­pacts in the bill, in­clud­ing an ad­di­tional $33 mil­lion above the bud­get re­quest for the U-2 mod­ern­iza­tion pro­gram at Plant 42 in Palm­dale; pur­chase of 90 F-35 fight­ers and 73 UH-60M Black­hawk he­li­copters, for which por­tions are man­u­fac­tured lo­cally; $50 mil­lion for the De­fense Com­mu­nity In­fra­struc­ture Pro­gram to ad­dress de­fi­cien­cies at bases and $3 bil­lion for the B-21 bomber pro­gram.

“At ev­ery sin­gle step of draf t ing and pass­ing the

( Na­tional De­fense Au­tho­riza­tion Act), our com­muni t y ’ s well­be­ing — its safety and its eco­nomic se­cu­rity — has been my only pri­or­ity,” Hill said in a state­ment about the pas­sage. “I’m ex­tremely proud to have been a part of se­cur­ing mis­sion-crit­i­cal fund­ing and pro­gram de­vel­op­ment, in ad­di­tion to sup­port­ing tens of thou­sands of lo­cal jobs, un­lock­ing new op­por­tu­ni­ties for our com­mu­nity, and strength­en­ing trans­parency and ac­count­abil­ity in our gov­ern­ment.”

The fi­nal bill re­flects pri­or­i­ties of the Demo­cratic ma­jor­ity’s pro­gres­sive wing and is $17 bil­lion less than the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s bud­get re­quest.

Among the pro­vi­sions are a ban on the de­ploy­ment of a new sub­ma­rine-launched low-yield nu­clear mis­sile, preven­tion of shift­ing mil­i­tary funds to build a wall on the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der and a ban on trans­fer­ring de­tainees to Guan­tanamo Bay prison.

It also in­cludes a repeal of the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ban on trans­gen­der peo­ple serv­ing in the mil­i­tary.

Other pro­vi­sions are broadly pop­u­lar, in­clud­ing a 3.1% pay raise for mil­i­tary ser­vice mem­bers and au­tho­riza­tion to pro­cure new weapons sys­tems, and ex­panded health and child ben­e­fits for mil­i­tary fam­i­lies.

An­other pro­vi­sion would de­liver 12 weeks of paid fam­ily leave to all fed­eral work­ers.

With the Se­nate hav­ing passed its own $750 bil­lion de­fense bud­get last month, law­mak­ers will have to work to rec­on­cile the two com­pet­ing ver­sions.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has promised to veto the House ver­sion.

The As­so­ci­ated Press con­trib­uted to this re­port.



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