A $750 billion defense bill that could impact Oklahoma military installations is being considered by the U.S. Senate.
Senator James Lankford (R-OK) took to the Senate floor to give bi-partisan praise to his fellow Republican Senator from Oklahoma and Senate Armed Services Chairman, Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and the committee’s ranking Democrat Jack Reed (D-RI).
Lankford said the complex annual legislation to fund the nation's military has had hundreds of amendments tacked on.
In a speech on the Senate floor, he highlighted three issues tackled in the bill with importance to people in Oklahoma.
- Addressing military housing concerns like the toxic mold discovered in Tinker Air Force Base's family housing.
“There are many areas and many bases and posts around—and posts around the country and world where the housing has fallen behind,” Lankford said. “Mold, issues of plumbing, electrical issues, roofing issues, flooring issues. It's important for members of our military to have a safe place that they come home to that really feels like home.”
In October of 2018, News 9 discovered families on the base were suffering from symptoms associate with harmful mold and last month the base told us they are still addressing cases of toxic mold found in the housing on base.
- Support for training with the KC-46A Pegasus Tanker, the Air Force’s newest refueler, at Altus Air Force Base.
“The KC-46 tanker, that’s the brand-new tanker that will be the refueler for the next generation, has already begun its delivery,” Lankford said. “This bill does the authorization for an additional 15 tankers, as we're modernizing that force, and we'll do a few every single year for quite a while.”
- Upgrading the Paladin tank Integrated Management system assembled in Elgin and applied at Lawton's Fort Sill.
“The Fire Center of Excellence at Fort Sill organizes, trains, equips all of the Paladin units in the Army Paladin Integrated Management,” Lankford said. “In fact, the skills that are coming out of the Fort Sill Fire Center of Excellence is asked for all over the world. Almost every one of our allies in every single foreign base is asking for the good folks from Fort Sill and what they are trained to be able to do to help protect our men and women around the world.”
The bill also gives troops a 3.1% raise.
Lankford praised Inhofe for ushering through his first defense authorization as chairman of the committee. He says the $750 billion price tag is exactly the amount President Donald Trump had asked for.
Senate Leadership said a vote on the bill is expected this week.