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Senate Defense Appropriations Include Funding for Guard Programs

Washington Report

Senate appropriators would provide funding to help grow the Army and Air National Guard and earmarked billions for new and upgraded equipment in a defense spending bill approved in September.

The Department of Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (S. 2474) was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Sept. 12. It must still be approved by the full Senate and then reconciled with the House version of the bill before becoming law.

But the committee’s version of the bill calls for a $693.2 billion defense budget. A full analysis of the legislation and related bills are available at NGAUS.org/legislation/ngaus-legislative-analysis.

Highlights from the bill include funding for both Army- and Air Force-wide programs and equipment and Guard-specific appropriations. It features:

•    A 3.1% military personnel pay raise,
•    $850 million for the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account,
•    Funding for Army National Guard end strength of 336,000,
•    $1.3 billion for 73 new UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters,
•    $169.2 million to modernize 25 UH-60 Black Hawks,
•    $972.4 million for 2,530 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles,
•    $806.8 million to modernize 48 AH-64 Apache helicopters,
•    $127.2 million for High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs),
•    Funding for Air National Guard end strength of 107,700,
•    $676 million for 8 C-130J Super Hercules aircraft for the Air National Guard,
•    $181 million to modernize C-130H Hercules aircraft,
•    $75 million for F-16 Viper radar upgrades for the Air National Guard,
•    $5.2 billion for 60 F-35A Lightning II aircraft,
•    $628 million for 6 F-15EX aircraft,
•    $2.1 billion for 12 KC-46A Pegasus aircraft,
•    $856.7 million for HH-60W combat rescue helicopters,
•    $220.5 million for the National Guard Counter-Drug Program,
•    $25.3 million for National Guard Counter-Drug schools,
•    $7 million for National Guard Preventative Mental Health programs and
•    $50 million for the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program.

Differences between the Senate and House bills must be reconciled and approved by both chambers before the spending legislation can be sent to the president for signature.