Billions of federal dollars are one step closer to coming to the High Plains.
This week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act, a bill on military spending.
It went through, in large part, because of efforts made by the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Mac Thornberry.
The bill passed by a vote of 344 to 81.
The defense bill would significantly increase funding for Pantex and Bell Helicopter.
At Pantex, the bill will provide more than $10 billion in funding for nuclear weapons activities.
This is $184 million more than the administration’s budget request.
All life extension programs at Pantex are fully funded and the bill includes over $5 million to begin design and construction of the Pantex material staging facility.
The bill will also help with repairs and security.
At Bell Helicopter, over $2 billion is authorized for Bell’s V-22 Osprey and helicopter programs.
“It’s good for the economy of our area, absolutely,” said Congressman Thornberry. “It’s even better for the national security of the united states because what we see is a growth of nuclear weapons, North Korea being the one that’s on most of our minds these days, and so keeping our nuclear deterrent strong and credible is really important and that’s what we do at Pantex.”
The bill also will go towards military personnel and pay, military families, rebuilding readiness, maintenance, facilities, and missile defense.
The bill supports the full 2.4% pay raise for the military.
This is the largest pay raise in eight years.
Congressman Thornberry says there is a major emphasis on security with Pantex having the best guard force in the country.
The Senate Armed Services Committee approved its version of the annual legislation last month.
Their version has yet to be introduced on the Senate floor.