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Rogers: Here’s what the defense spending bill means for East Alabama (Opinion)

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-AL03 (Photo: Facebook)
Rep. Mike Rogers, R-AL03 (Photo: Facebook)

As you may have seen in the news, the Conference Report to accompany H.R. 1735 – National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2016 passed the House of Representatives.

We can all agree that providing for the common defense is our government’s most important duty. Each year Congress passes the defense bill to make sure that the Pentagon has the resources and flexibility they need to fulfill that mission. I was appointed to serve on the conference committee and worked with a bi-partisan and bi-cameral group of Members to iron out all the details of this crucial piece of legislation.

Besides authorizing funding for the Pentagon to fund our military and help keep our nation safe, this bill included language that could directly affect folks across the Third District.

One piece of the bill I was thrilled about was language similar to my amendment to allow the Army to transfer its surplus vintage firearms to the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) to sale. Although the final language was not perfect, I am pleased it was included.

This means the excess M1911A1 pistols, better known as 1911s, which used to be the standard U.S. Armed Forces sidearm, will be transferred to the CMP for them to inspect, grade and prepare to sell. Currently these excess 1911s are sitting in storage costing the taxpayer roughly $200,000 a year.

So in the near future, the public will have the chance to purchase this vintage collectible firearm.

The second inclusion that could impact East Alabamians is the language that would prohibit furloughs at Working Capital facilities as long as there was funded workload.
Working Capital Fund facilities include the Anniston Army Depot, one of the largest employers in the area, so I am pleased this language will help offer those employees a little more security for the vital work they do for our brave warfighters.

Although the NDAA has passed the House of Representatives, at the time of this writing, it still must pass the Senate and then be sent to the President for his signature. President Obama has threatened to veto this bill. I urge him not to play games with our national security and to sign this important bill.

Congressman Mike Rogers represents Alabama’s 3rd District.

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