Vote Explanation for H.R. 1301 — Fiscal Year 2017 Department of Defense Appropriations Act
I voted in favor of H.R. 1301, the 2017 Fiscal Year Defense Appropriations Act. This legislation was the product of hard work and compromise between Democrats and Republicans that provides necessary funding for servicemembers, their families, and our ongoing military operations overseas.
Specifically, the bill includes $132 billion in funding for personnel programs, a 2.1 percent pay raise for military and civilian employees of the Department of Defense (DOD), $215 billion for operations and maintenance needs, $72.7 billion for research, development technology and engineering, and $117 billion for overall procurement accounts.
The legislation also includes critical funding for DOD programs in Massachusetts, from MIT Lincoln Labs, located at Hanscom Air Force Base, to the Defense Innovation Unit — Experimental (DIUx) Office in Cambridge.
H.R. 1301 ensures that the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) recapitalization program achieves full operational capability as early as possible. The JSTARS platform is a critical battlefield management platform that continues to age and is in dire need of replacement given current operational demands. Hanscom Air Force Base is home to the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center which is tasked with coordinating the program’s details and requirements.
As we continue to address the growing threat of Russian aggression, this appropriations bill also provides $150 million to continue to support our Eastern European allies and Ukrainian forces defending against Russian encroachment. Lastly, the bill allocates nearly $1 billion for the ongoing counter-ISIL campaign.
I was pleased to see this legislation pass the House with broad, bipartisan support. Our servicemembers and their families deserve no less.