Senate Passes Defense Spending Bill, Includes Funding For Patuxent River Naval Air Station

Senator Barbara A. Mikulski and Senator Paul Sarbanes announced today that the Senate has passed the 2006 Defense Appropriations bill, which includes an additional $125 million for Maryland defense projects. The legislation funds the Department of Defense and will go toward critical research, development, test and evaluation programs, as well as weapons and equipment required for the U.S. Armed Forces.

"We need to do everything we can to support our troops - not just with words, but with deeds. Together, we can do better. These much needed funds will help our troops fulfill their mission both at home and abroad," said Senator Mikulski. "I will keep fighting to put money in the federal checkbook for U.S. troops and their families."

"We continue to work hard to ensure that Patuxent River Naval Air Station has the resources to remain the Navy's premier research, development, testing, and evaluation site," said Senator Sarbanes.? "The efforts are Pax River are not only important to our overall national defense, but also to our State's economy, resulting in significant spillover opportunities in our hi-tech and defense related sectors."

The spending bill includes:

- $2 million to support a program at Patuxent River Naval Air Station to integrate Navy Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation and training resources to provide new and enhanced integrated test, training and experimentation for the various components of the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) and Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG).

- $3 million to support a program at Patuxent River Naval Air Station for Joint Aviation Technical Data Integration to provide integrated electronic support to aviation maintenance crews deployed around the world.

In the next step of the legislative process, the House and Senate will meet in Conference Committee to work out the differences between the two versions of the bill. The conference report will then be voted on by both Houses of Congress. Once passed by the House and Senate, the Defense Appropriations bill will go to the President for his signature.

Senator Mikulski is a member of the Appropriations Committee and the Subcommittee on Defense. Senator Sarbanes is the senior Democrat on the Banking Committee.

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