WASHINGTON, D.C. –
Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and
Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced the Senate has approved the Department of Defense 2008 spending bill, which includes $74.5 million for defense projects in Maryland, including $21 million for defense projects in the Washington, D.C., metro area. 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. Senator Mikulski is a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. Senator Cardin is a member of the Budget Committee.
“We need to do everything we can to support our troops with the equipment they need on the battlefield, the benefits and services they deserve when they return home, and support for their families on the home front. We know how critical these funds are for our troops to fulfill their mission and return home safely,” said Senator Mikulski. “I will keep fighting to put money in the federal checkbook for our troops.”
“Our greatest obligation as elected officials is to take care of our troops and their families who have sacrificed on our behalf,” said Senator Cardin. “This bill sets the right priorities by providing critical equipment and training, strengthening military health care for our troops and their families, and giving our military families the pay raise they deserve.”
The $21 million for Washington area defense projects includes:
— $5 million for Naval ship hydrodynamic facilities at Carderock to replace and improve ship testing facilities.
— $5 million for the Army Research Laboratory and University of Maryland PEM Fuel Cell Tactical Generators Initiative to develop lighter and more fuel efficient generators.
— $3 million for the Tactical Automated Security System (TASS) Advanced Communications Module to upgrade communications for an existing deployable perimeter security system.
— $2 million for Post-IED Craniofacial Injury Reconstruction at Fort Detrick. The funding will be used for pre-surgical planning for reconstructive facial and cranial surgery for damage caused by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
— $2 million for a Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot (BEAR) to retrieve injured troops from the battlefield.
— $2 million for Fibrin Adhesive State (FAST) Dressing, which is used to treat burns and wounds on the battlefield.
— $1 million for a multi-purpose Biodefense Immunoarray to develop additional immunoarrays for pathogens and other types of bio-threats, including encephalitis viruses, hemorrhagic fever viruses, and multiple toxins.
— $1 million for an antibody-based therapeutic against smallpox. The funding will be used to continue development of bio-defense agents to protect first responders and other personnel after exposure to the smallpox virus.
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 spending bill will go to the President for his signature.