Will President Biden Greenlight Oklahoma's Military Base Funding?

Pentagon spending legislation, including Oklahoma's military bases, heads to President Biden's desk.

Thursday, December 14th 2023, 10:22 pm

By: News 9, Alex Cameron


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The legislation directing Pentagon spending for the coming year — including at Oklahoma’s five military bases — is now headed to President Biden’s desk. The annual defense authorization bill had strong bipartisan support in both the Senate and House, but there were still objections.

The Republican-controlled House and Democrat-controlled Senate passed their respective versions of the NDAA last summer. It was only in the last few weeks did they work to reconcile the differences -- and that process is why one Oklahoma House member voted against the final product.

"It was not a true 50-50 compromise," said 2nd District Congressman Josh Brecheen in an interview this week.

Brecheen and Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK1) voted no Thursday, along with 116 other members, 73 of them Republicans. Brecheen complained that the majority of the measures the GOP put in the House version to counter the administration’s ‘woke’ agenda were taken out. "And people know that common sense says that’s not what the military needs to be doing, this social experiment," Brecheen stated.

The rest of the Oklahoma delegation voted in favor of the $886 billion measure, which Senator Markwayne Mullin pointed out includes a 5.2% pay hike. "[It’s] for all of our service members,” said Mullin (R-OK) in an interview Wednesday, “regardless of rank, regardless if you’re enlisted or if you were an officer, so that’s a huge impact."

It will also significantly impact Oklahoma bases, containing funding for a new 3-bay KC-46 maintenance hangar at Tinker AFB, funding to plan and design a new water treatment plant at McAlester Army Ammunition Plant and a new undergraduate pilot training center at Vance AFB. There’s also money for a back up power project at Fort Sill.

"It also includes language about adding additional inventory to the planes we train on at Altus Air Force Base,” said Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK3) in an interview Thursday morning. “So, this is the basic document that directs the Pentagon how to spend their money over the year, and defending the country is one of the most important things we do."

 Also included in this year’s NDAA is a 4-month extension of the controversial surveillance provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Efforts are underway to reform FISA, but lawmakers need more time.

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