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Wicker: Mississippi Jobs and Programs On the Line If Defense Bill Is Vetoed

WASHINGTON, D.C.–Your job could be on the line if you work for the military or in a defense-related job, if the National Defense Authorization Act is vetoed by Pres. Obama, said Sen. Roger Wicker Wednesday. Wicker,  a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee,delivered a speech to the Senate highlighting the importance of the Act to Mississippi’s soldiers, veterans, military installations, and defense manufacturing.

“For people in Mississippi, talk of this bill being a ‘waste of time’ does not ring true. It is important to Mississippians who have stepped forward to volunteer for military service and are serving capably. It is important for our veterans. We also manufacture many things important for national security, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, the finest ships in the world, helicopters, radars, and other electronic warfare technology,” said Wicker.

Pres. Obama has threatened to veto the proposal even though the bill authorizes $612 billion in defense spending, which Wicker said is an amount that he requested in his own budget.

Democrats oppose spending caps in the plan.

“We live in a very unstable and insecure world, and we need this bill to meet the threats that are out there,” said Wicker in his speech. “The situation has worsened in Iraq. We face old Cold War tensions, with an aggressive Russia increasingly intent on restoring the Soviet empire. We need to reaffirm that the United States has a capable and strong defense.”

NDAA and defense appropriations would impact Mississippi in the following ways:

  • Tupelo: Recognizes the importance of the Army’s Apache helicopters and the Tupelo Army Aviation Support Facility.
  • Columbus/Meridian: Allows student pilots to have adequate training and flying hours at Columbus Air Force Base and Meridian Naval Air Station.
  • Starkville: Completes the Army Reserve Center for equipping and training military personnel.
  • Gulfport-Biloxi: Supports a new Army National Guard Aviation Depot at the Gulfport-Biloxi Airport, as well as the continued mission of over 11,000 Americans who work at Keesler Air Force Base.

“Simply put, the future of our defense should not be put in jeopardy because of disagreements about unrealistic domestic funding issues,” Wicker concluded. “We can get to those issues, but defending the United States of America is something only the federal government can do.”

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