WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos announced her appointment to the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Committee. The Conference Committee, made up of a select group of House and Senate members, will merge the House and Senate versions of the bill into a final version. After the conference completes its work, the final version of this year’s Defense bill will be voted on in both chambers of Congress before going to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
“I am honored to help provide our brave men and women in uniform with the resources they need to keep our nation safe by participating in this bipartisan conference committee,” said Congresswoman Bustos. “This is also an important opportunity to make sure the heartland has a voice at the table fighting for our local priorities. The House version of the bill has both of my provisions to strengthen the Rock Island Arsenal. This includes a measure to make sure that the military has to look to our arsenals before leasing expensive new space elsewhere as well as a second provision to help ensure that they have the workload they need to succeed in the long-term. I am committed to championing these important measures in the final version. Additionally, I will work to keep our commitment to the aerospace and defense logistics industries in Rockford as well as Peoria’s Air National Guard unit. There are a lot of hardworking men and women across the 17th district who play an important role in ensuring our national security and I am proud to fight for all of them.”
In June, the House Armed Services Committee included Congresswoman Bustos’ provision to ensure that Army arsenals have the workload they need to plan ahead and remain skilled and competitive. It would require the Secretary of the Army to issue guidance on how it will decide which items to make at Army arsenals and which it will purchase from other sources with the goal of ensuring that arsenals have sufficient workload to keep their workforce skilled and their products affordable.
In July, Bustos was able to include an amendment that will reduce government waste and help strengthen the Rock Island Arsenal by requiring the Department of Defense to ensure that there isn’t any usable space available on a military installation before entering into expensive leases or purchasing additional property. This would help ensure that space at the Rock Island Arsenal, and other military installations, are maximized before the military leases additional space. Illinois and Iowa’s Senators worked together to include the same language when the Senate passed their version of the bill in September.