More excellent news out of Congresswoman Nancy Boyda's office- another $20 million for the district, and, perhaps more importantly, a much deserved pay raise for our fighting men and women.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Thursday, Congresswoman Nancy Boyda (Kansas Second District) voted for the bipartisan 2009 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which she helped craft as a member of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee.(It included the Boyda Amendment, which placed a 3 year ban on public-private competitions in the Defense Dept. and passed unanimously. We talked about it here).
The bill advances the efforts of last year's NDAA to restore America's military readiness, and it includes over $20 million in defense authorizations for the state of Kansas. It passed the U.S. House of Representatives on a 384 to 23 vote.
Congresswoman Boyda said, "In the face of continuous deployment and redeployment of troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, our military and their families need additional support. The funds authorized on Thursday will strengthen the Kansas economy and improve the security of every American."
The bill includes numerous authorizations to support Kansas military installations, including:
- $2 million for a dynamometer for the Kansas National Guard
- $6 million for the Urban Operations Laboratory development at Kansas State University
- $3.4 million for the Defense Command Integration Center (Eisenhower Center) for the Kansas National Guard
- $2 million for Leadership for Leaders at Kansas State University and Fort Leavenworth
- $3 million for a new fire station at Fort Riley
- $4.389 million for the second phase of the new chapel at Fort Leavenworth
The bill also takes major steps to strengthen America's military readiness, which has been one of Congresswoman Boyda's top concerns since entering office in 2007. It authorizes $8.6 billion for the Army and $1.8 billion for the Marine Corps to reset equipment -- fixing broken equipment and replacing that which is not fixable. The National Guard and the Army Reserve will receive $800 million for procurement of high-priority equipment.
The NDAA also includes a hard-earned pay raise for American soldiers. All uniformed personnel will receive a 3.9% pay raise, 0.5% higher than was proposed by President Bush in his 2009 budget. In addition, the bill prevents any increases in health care premiums and co-pays for TRICARE and the TRICARE retail pharmacy program.
The NDAA also authorizes $65 million to school boards that provide support to military children, $15 million of which is directed to school districts impacted by force structure changes. Manhattan, Junction City and Leavenworth all stand to benefit from this provision.
Congresswoman Boyda added, "Last night we achieved a major leap in the right direction by supporting our military's efforts to be the best prepared force in the world. America's leading generals have repeatedly told us that, with our military so focused on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we have limited ability to respond to terrorist threats elsewhere in the world. The NDAA provides the funding needed to address the military's concerns and to restore America's readiness to respond to any threat, anywhere, at any time."
It was a bipartisan effort, and every member of the Kansas delegation to the House supported the bill- and, with it's significant margin, is indeed veto-proof.
We're particularly please the Republican agreed to go along with the Democrats and give our men and woman in uniform a larger pay increase than the President proposed. They deserve much more than we can afford to pay them.