A massive annual defense spending bill was passed by the Senate Thursday, that would give service members a better than 5% pay raise and investments into Fort Riley’s infrastructure. The vote was 86-11.
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) applauded the passage of the Senate’s bill, saying it includes “critical investments for the nation’s weapons stockpile and cutting-edge cybersecurity technology.”
Locally, Moran says the bill authorizes $105 million for construction of an Aircraft Maintenance Hangar at Fort Riley, $1.6 million for the planning and design of a new Air Traffic Control Tower and $15.6 million in funding for the power generation and microgrid funded in fiscal 2023. The bill also authorized $5.9 million for a microgrid and backup power generator at Forbes Field in Topeka.
Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) says he also supported the pay raise for troops and the fact that the bill “targets financial assets of Mexican traffickers and Chinese suppliers importing illicit fentanyl across the country and Kansas, in mass quantities.”
The bill also would allow surviving spouses to retain certain benefits upon remarriage at any age, allow dependents of retired servicemembers to maintain hearing aid coverage through TRICARE Prime, among other items.
The House passed its own version of the annual defense bill along party lines earlier this month after heated debates on social issues including abortion and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. With lawmakers leaving Washington for the August recess, the two chambers will look to settle their differences in the fall, as the two sides work to write a final bill.