U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines today called on Senate Democrats to stop blocking legislation that funds the military and supports Montana’s military missions.
Earlier today, Senate Democrats blocked consideration of the FY2017 Defense Appropriations Bill. This legislation passed unanimously out of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations on May 26, 2016 with not one Democrat voting in opposition.
“To say our troops won’t get a paycheck unless we increase funding for bloated government programs like the IRS is an affront to the hardworking men and women who are fighting ISIS and putting their lives on the line everyday to protect our freedoms,” Daines stated. “Montanans know firsthand the importance of supporting our men and women in uniform and they know our troops deserve more than cheap partisan politics.”
Video of Daines’ statement is available to download here.
Earlier today, Daines took to the Senate floor once again to speak about the Democrat filibuster of the defense funding legislation.
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The Defense Appropriations Bill would provide the following support for Montana’s military missions:
- Supporting the Troops: The measure fully funds an active duty end strength of 1,281,900, a reserve component end strength of 801,200 and a 1.6 percent pay raise for military personnel.
- Upgrading UH-1Ns: $75 million in the bill for the Air Force to purchase Black Hawk helicopters along with language directing the Department of Defense to secure the nuclear missile fields with additional outside air support until the acquisition process has completed due to the security risks posed by the Vietnam-era UH-1N.
- Troops and Families: The bill maintains a strong commitment to taking care of troops and their families by supporting quality of life programs such as Morale, Welfare and Recreation and Childcare. An additional $25 million above the President’s request is provided for the continued implementation of the Sexual Assault Special Victims’ Counsel Program across the Services.
- Funding Cyber Command: Establishes that Cyber Command has enough funding to begin its initial operations if elevated to a Combatant Command.
- Modernization of nuclear arsenal: Six provisions for nuclear modernization, including, $12 million in upgrades to communication equipment that Daines raised security concerns, and provisions supporting the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program which replaces the Minuteman III missiles. Daines recently published an editorial on GBSD and has continued to lead the ICBM coalition in holding accountable for the upgrade of nuclear arsenal.
- Department of Defense Healthcare Management System Modernization: Establishes electronic healthcare records for servicemembers leaving the military and transitioning to the VA and directing the program to be completed in the fastest most cost effective manner possible.
- Army Research and Development: $30 million for military small arms. Daines has long called on the military to upgrade its small arms arsenal to keep up with the private sector and was informed rifle barrels made in Montana could make the Marine Corps sniper rifle 3lbs lighter- an important provision after reports that our adversaries had better sniper rifles than Marines.