KTVA: Murkowski supports, advances FY 2020 defense bill

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Friday voiced approval and advanced the Defense Appropriations bill for the next fiscal year.

Murkowski is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. A release from from her office Friday morning states the bill features $1.7 billion in emergency funding for disaster relief, most notably for the effects of Hurricanes Florence and Michael.

There are multiple initiatives for Alaska, including $960 million to pay for 59 F-35s, as well as 12 F-35As and parts for the jets, some of which will make up the two F-35A Lightning II squadrons housed at Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks by 2022.

An additional $15 million will be used to upgrade existing infrastructure in preparation for those fighter jets.

More than $14 million is going toward Innovative Readiness Training, a program that brings service members from across the country to Alaska for more rigorous training in "remote construction and healthcare delivery." Specifically mentioned is the erosion and flooding in Newtok and relocating the people there to the nearby village of Mertarvik.

The Civil Air Patrol in Alaska will be getting a total of $17.1 million for funding operation and maintenance, buying more aircraft and radio equipment.

According to the release, $10 million will be headed toward private spaceports, like Pacific Spaceport Alaska in Kodiak. Doing so will help those facilities maintain the ability to carry out defense missions.

One of the national initiatives mentioned would boost the pay for military service members by 3.1%.

Murkowski, who chairs the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee as well as the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, also sits on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.

“The men and women who every day protect our nation through their service deserve our full support," the senator said in the release. "Providing our military with the tools, equipment, and programs necessary to strengthen our national security is critical.”

The bill passed the U.S. House in July in a 220-197 vote. It was received by the Senate earlier this month.

By:  Bryan Dunagan
Source: KTVA