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Simpson Votes for Defense Bill that Supports our Troops and Includes Big Wins for Idaho

Defense bill includes rail conveyance for the City of Mountain Home to spur economic development

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Washington, July 14, 2017 | comments

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson praised passage of H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018.  This bill fulfills the constitutional responsibility of Congress to provide for the common defense by funding the Department of Defense, and authorizes many important programs that support our military, including a pay increase and benefits to military members and their families.

“I am thrilled to see this bill provide our service members with the necessary tools and support they need to keep up safe at home and abroad,” said Simpson.  “With ever-changing threats, we must ensure that our military can protect us from those that wish to do us harm.”

The NDAA contained many important priorities for Idaho including an amendment offered by Congressman Simpson that streamlines the conveyance of an unused Air Force-owned rail spur near the Mountain Home Air Force Base (AFB) to the City of Mountain Home.  This amendment was developed in consensus with the City of Mountain Home and the Air Force.  The city will leverage this rail for economic development to attract businesses to the city and lead to job growth for its residents and for military dependents.  Without legislative action, this project could have been delayed years and held up important economic development.

“I am very pleased that my amendment was adopted, and I am excited to see the rail conveyance create economic opportunities in the region,” said Simpson.  “There is great potential for this conveyance to strengthen and diversify the economy for both Mountain Home and the State of Idaho.  I am also pleased that this conveyance provides a great partnering opportunity for the city of Mountain Home and Mountain Home Air Force Base. It’s a win-win for the city and the base.”

The railway is critical to attracting business to the city’s planned industrial park.  Each new business attracted by the immediate proximity of rail transport will create jobs from diverse fields and levels.

The bill also includes a provision preventing the retirement of the A-10 Thunderbolt II, and authorizes funding for the aircraft to continue its operation. An A-10 squadron currently operates at Gowen Field in Boise.

“I am pleased to back the A-10 which ensures that our service members will have the necessary tools they need in close air combat support,” said Simpson. “While there will be a time when the aircraft will need to be replaced, we have to ensure that an appropriate replacement can be identified before that happens.”

The bill also authorizes funding for new trainee barracks for the Idaho Army National Guard, a high priority for the Army to improve Guard readiness.

This bill provides for a 2.4% pay raise for over 1.3 million active-duty and 820,000 Guard and Reserve troops.

H.R. 2810 passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 344-81.  

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