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Wicker: Passing Defense Authorization Act Should Not Be Controversial

WASHINGTON, D.C.–The National Defense Authorization Act is being debated in Washington this week and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) pleaded with the U.S. Senate Tuesday to pass the bill, which not only authorizes money for the military, but directly affects Mississippi jobs.

“For more than a half-century, this bill has been a model of bipartisan support,” said Wicker. “Passing NDAA should not be controversial. We should give our military leaders and troops a defense plan in the timely manner they deserve. It has been said by the Minority Leader that taking this bill up is a ‘waste of time’ because the President has said that he would veto it. It is curious that he would say so because this bill funds national security at the amount requested by the President.”

Democrats have said they will oppose any spending bill that has a cap, with a possible veto coming from the president. Last week the bill made it out of a Senate committee with bipartisan support, which Wicker praised.

“Further, it is a comprehensive reform bill that ought to have the same sort of bipartisan support that we have had for the last 50 years. We need a bill that takes an honest look at our current challenges and implements necessary reforms. I am pleased to say that this legislation does so, and I hope we move it forward,” said Wicker.

The bill provides $578.6 billion to fund military operations, readiness, and health and safety programs, an increase of $24.4 billion.  Of those funds $88.4 billion are directed towards  the Global War on Terrorism in order to provide resources and meet operational needs, said a release from Palazzo’s office.

It also includes provisions directly affecting our military assets in Mississippi including the continued funding of an amphibious assault ship to be built in Pascagoula and continues the freeze on the movement of Guard Apache helicopters out of Mississippi.

“Amphibious ships send a powerful message to our adversaries and allies, in addition to offering our sailors and Marines dependable and modern equipment for dangerous missions around the world,” said Wicker, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower. “These ships are known as ‘Swiss Army Knives’ of the sea because they are versatile enough to respond to counterterrorism, piracy, combat missions, and humanitarian crises.”

This year’s NDAA would authorize $199 million for an additional America-class amphibious assault ship, as well as $80 million in research and development.

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