With Bustos Priorities, Defense Appropriations Bill Heads to House Floor for Final Passage
WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) helped pass a Defense funding bill for Fiscal Year 2021 out of the powerful House Appropriations Committee that would work to expand manufacturing work at the Rock Island Arsenal, protect the Peoria 182nd Airlift Wing’s mission readiness and support local jobs and economies in Northwest and Central Illinois.
“The Rock Island Arsenal and Peoria Air National Guard play key roles in our nation’s defense and possess unique capabilities to support the mission readiness of our servicemembers,” said Congresswoman Bustos, a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. “Today’s bill invests in their skills and expertise to ensure our nation’s defense technologies are state-of-the-art. I’ll continue to be a strong voice for our men and women in uniform and the world-class workforce behind them that help drive our local economy.”
Congresswoman Bustos secured the following priorities to support military readiness:
- Rock Island Arsenal: At the Rock Island Arsenal, the Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center (JMTC) and the newly established Center of Excellence for Advanced and Additive Manufacturing play a major role in ensuring our Army’s manufacturing capabilities are top-notch, while also being a key local economic hub. Congresswoman Bustos included $10 million in today’s bill to continue a program focused on large-scale additive manufacturing prototyping of components like jointless hulls of next generation combat vehicles. The ability to manufacture combat vehicles without joints would help eliminate the weaknesses of current vehicles and protect against vulnerabilities.
- Peoria Air National Guard: The 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria has a strong history of outstanding performance and mission readiness, which was put to the test in its recent deployment in Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. In addition to playing a key role in our nation’s defense, the men and women of Peoria’s Air National Guard Base immediately responded to the COVID-19 pandemic to assist their neighbors upon returning from deployment. Last week, Congresswoman Bustos led a bipartisan call for the Air Force to provide a long-term fleet management plan of C-130 aircraft in a letter to the House Armed Services Committee. In today’s bill, Congresswoman Bustos included a similar provision requiring the Department of Defense to provide a full report on the future of the C-130 fleet. The legislation also includes $79 million for engine upgrades and $233 million for propeller upgrades to the C-130H, which the 182nd flies.
- Funding for Research in Rockford and Throughout the Country: A total level of funding of $5M for research into a Megawatt Low Spool Generator, a possible solution to making next-generation fighters more efficient and powerful. Much of this research takes place in Rockford, Illinois.
- Support for Local Economy: Rock Island is home to innovative workers and manufacturers who forge cutting-edge solutions in the defense industry. In today’s bill, Congresswoman Bustos supported a total of $25 million for the research and development of soft recoil artillery systems, a technology pioneered in Rock Island. This technology makes it possible to mount large artillery systems onboard lightweight vehicles. Current research shows that soft recoil artillery systems are ten times more accurate than existing towed artillery systems and can be fired and redeployed five times faster, increasing survivability of U.S. soldiers.
Additional priorities include:
- A $1.3 billion increase for a total of $694.6 billion in new discretionary spending authority for the Department of Defense.
- Full funding to support a proposed 3 percent military pay raise.
- $3 million for a Pilot Program for Online Real Estate management to create a tool similar to popular online real estate websites, in order to market existing, unused property to the Army, other federal agencies, or private partners. This is an initiative Congresswoman Bustos helped propose.
- Increases funding by $45 million above the President’s request for the Department and Services’ Sexual Assault Prevention and Response programs, for a total of $323 million.
- Provides an additional $116 million for upgrades to childcare facilities and report language directing the services to present innovative ideas to assist servicemembers with this quality of life issue.
- Provides that nothing in this Act may be construed as authorizing the use of force against Iran.