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Senate defense-funding bill good for NH, national security, Shaheen says

New Hampshire Union Leader

May 24. 2014 6:55PM

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. (COURTESY)

The Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday approved its version of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes major equipment and program initiatives supported by committee member Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.

"The bipartisan defense bill we advanced this week is good for New Hampshire's economy and our national security," Shaheen said Saturday.

"Not only did we block a potentially costly future BRAC round, but we made strategic investments in our military's infrastructure that will support local jobs and New Hampshire's role in our national defense, particularly at Pease and our shipyard," said Shaheen, referring to the military Base Realignment and Closure process. The Authorization Act is a federal law passed annually that lays out budget and spending specifications for the Department of Defense.

The legislation - approved 25 to 1 - would provide funding for new and existing projects and programs throughout the state and country.

One of these programs is the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, which provides funding to local and regional programs that support service members and their families after deployment ends.

Yellow Ribbon funds the Deployment Cycle Support Program in New Hampshire. The program provides a variety of services to Granite State residents, ranging from foster care to mental health counseling to addiction treatment. Since 2008, more than a million service members and their families have used the Yellow Ribbon program throughout the country.

"Although we continue to grapple with the challenges faced by service members and their families throughout the deployment cycle, the Yellow Ribbon Program has proven a critical resource. We cannot let that go to waste," Shaheen said.

The funding for equipment initiatives includes the KC-46 Aerial Refueling Tanker, which will be stored at Pease Air National Guard Base in Portsmouth and the continued purchase of two Virginia-class submarines,

Shaheen also spearheaded several amendments to provisions already included in the current fiscal year act, including the Special Immigrant Visa program and updates to counter-drug operation missions in Central and South America.

The legislation now goes before the full Senate. The House also passed its version of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act on Thursday.

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