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Tillis lauds bill that funds military, takes a swipe at Turkey

U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC)

The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed the $750 billion National Defense Authorization Act, the primary piece of legislation that funds the nation’s armed forces, including more than $2 billion for military installations in North Carolina. Service members will see a pay increase of roughly 3%.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said money for NC-based installations would also help the military continue recovery efforts from Hurricane Florence.

In December 2018, Marine Corps. Commandant Gen. Robert B. Neller estimated the storm-related rebuilding efforts were in the billions of dollars for Camp Lejeune alone.

“If you were to take the buildings that we would consider to be not worth the cost of repair, but that they would need to be rebuilt, that total bill comes to about $3.6 billion," Neller told senators at the time.

The Marine Corps received $400 million in April in reprogrammed funds to address the immediate needs at Camp Lejeune.

Highlights

  • Military Construction for North Carolina Installations

               Camp Lejeune - $254.61 million

               MCAS Cherry Point - $292.7 million

               Fort Bragg – $96.6 million

  • Funds for Hurricane Florence Recovery

               Camp Lejeune - $936.9 million

               MCAS Cherry Point - $64.6 million

               MCAS New River - $11.32 M

               Army (National Guard), Fort Fisher Military Training Area - $25 M

               Planning and Design (Navy) – $50 M

               Facilities Sustainment, Restoration and Maintenance (FSRM) -- $340 million

  • A 3.1 percent pay raise for members of the Armed Forces
  • $155.8 billion for military personnel, including costs of pay, allowances, bonuses, death benefits, and permanent change of station moves
  • Reauthorizes over 30 types of bonuses and special pays
  • $33 billion for the Defense Health Program

Turkey

The NDAA includes a provision based on legislation introduced by Tillis and Senators Lankford, Shaheen and Van Hollen that would prohibit the transfer of F-35 aircraft, equipment, and data to Turkey until Turkey certifies that it will not accept delivery of the S-400 air missile defense system. 

Under the US-led, multinational Joint Strike Fighter program, Turkey was expected to purchase more than 100 aircraft.

Tillis made two trips in 2018 to Turkey to meet with Pastor Andrew Brunson, a North  Carolina native who was arrested and held for nearly two years in what U.S. officials said at the time was a “wrongful and unlawful imprisonment.”

Brunson was eventually released and returned to the United States.

“I’m proud of the work we accomplished in the NDAA on behalf of our servicemembers, including addressing military housing issues plaguing bases across the country, taking steps to prevent military sexual assault, and once again giving our men and women and women in uniform a pay raise,” said Senator Tillis. “This bipartisan legislation also ensures North Carolina’s military installations will get more than $2 billion as they continue to play an important role in the defense of our nation and recover from the devastation of Hurricane Florence.”

The legislation passed on an 86-8 vote. The Senate version will need to be reconciled with the House, which plans to take it up in July.