Mar 22 2007

COMMITTEE APPROVES FY 2007 SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS BILL

U. S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced Committee approval of funding for Alabama included in the fiscal year 2007 (FY07) Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill.  This legislation will now go to the Senate floor for consideration.

Global War on Terror -- $92 billion

The bill provides $92 billion in emergency spending for the Department of Defense to support Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. 

“It is our duty to ensure that our armed forces engaged in combat have the best equipment available, as well as the most effective weapons, communications gear, munitions, troop protection, and other necessary items essential to our current military operations.”

The following programs were funded for the Department of Defense:

  • $767.685 million for Stryker Vehicle
  • $36.191 million for M113 Tracked Combat Vehicles (Carrier Mods)
  • $75.259 million for M1 Abrams tank modifications
  • $325 million for Abrams System Enhancement Packages (SEP)
  • $596.351 million for Abrams Upgrade Program (M1A2 System Enhancement Packages)
  • $136.303 million to procure seven new UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, as well as two lost in combat
  • $64.2 million for modifications to the AH-64 Apache Longbow attack helicopter
  • $120 million for modifications to the CH-47 Chinook Helicopter
  • $79.3 million for procurement of Hellfire missiles for the Air Force and Marine Corps
  • $74.793 million to procure Javelin missiles for the Army and Marine Corps
  • $28 million for procurement of Hydra 70 rockets
  • $20 million to repair facilities at Walter Reed Army Medical Center
  • $100 million for Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder treatment and research

In addition to the critical funding for our warfighters, the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill included:

Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) - $3.1 billion

This bill provides $3.1 billion for BRAC, of which $9.4 million will be used for construction of the Recruiting Brigade Operations Building at Redstone Arsenal in FY07.  These funds restore the money cut in the FY07 Joint Resolution and will allow the BRAC timeline to remain on schedule, allowing the Department of Defense to rotate forces, train our warfighters, and maintain the overall readiness of our armed forces.

“Including the $3.1 billion cut in the FY07 Joint Resolution was vital to keeping the Base Realignment and Closure recommendations on schedule,” said Senator Shelby.  “Fully funding the BRAC budget request for 2007 was one of my highest priorities, as it is critical to military readiness and quality of life and to the Department of Defense’s transformation efforts.” 

Agriculture Disaster Assistance - $4.15 billion

Alabama’s agriculture industry has been plighted by severe weather conditions in past years.  This funding will allow the Department of Agriculture to address the needs of farmers that were not met through the normal recovery programs. 

“I have always and will continue to work to protect and preserve Alabama’s family farms,” said Senator Shelby.  “Farms are the workhorse of Alabama’s rural economy and it is important that we help Alabama’s farmers recover from devastating droughts and hurricanes from previous crop years.” 

NOAA Direct Assistance to Gulf Coast Fishermen - $85 million

The Gulf of Mexico is home to a significant share of the U.S. fishing industry, accounting for almost 20 percent of all commercial landings.  In addition, the recreational fishing industry contributes billions of dollars to the economy of the Gulf Coast each year.  Of the $85 million, $20 million will be available to assist Alabama’s fishermen. 

“Many shore-based facilities that support the Gulf fishing industry were damaged or destroyed as a result of the hurricanes,” said Senator Shelby.  “Alabama lost over $138 million in marine dockside revenue as a result of hurricane devastation.  This funding will help provide much needed assistance to Alabama’s fishermen as they continue to recover.” 

FBI Hazardous Devices School at Redstone Arsenal - $8.1 million

The FBI proposal totals $348 million, of which $8.1 million is for the Hazardous Devices School (HDS) at Redstone Arsenal. 

“The FBI Hazardous Devices School will be used to train federal, state, and local bomb technicians, to acquire electronic counter-measure training skills, and to equip the HDS’s new secure training facility,” said Senator Shelby.  “As we continue to fight the Global War on Terror, it is critical that state and local bomb technicians and our FBI agents have the knowledge and training necessary to protect our communities from ever evolving threats.”

State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance - $70 million

This bill includes $70 million for the Edward Byrne Grant Program.  Of these funds, Alabama will receive $7.5 million to assist state and local law enforcement for the increased costs incurred from hurricanes and tornados that have devastated areas of Alabama.

“Byrne grants are essential to local law enforcement efforts because they provide funding directly to our crime fighters,” said Senator Shelby.  “I firmly believe that those individuals serving on the front lines of our communities know best what they need to successfully do their jobs.  We must do all we can to support local law enforcement as they help keep Alabama safe.”

NOAA Gulf Coast Disaster Response Center - $6 million

This funding will allow NOAA to begin developing a center that can effectively respond to weather and marine disasters.  It will serve as a focal point for innovative severe storm research.  The tornadoes that devastated Coffee and Wilcox counties coupled with the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005, are further proof of the need for a facility like this.  The response center will also help to provide a coordinated response when disasters occur. 

“In recent years, NOAA has greatly improved the timeliness of severe weather warnings, but we still must do more to be prepare our citizens for natural disasters,” said Senator Shelby.  “It requires better education, better planning, and better infrastructure.  The Gulf Coast Disaster Response Center will give NOAA the capability to mobilize its emergency response after disasters and more effectively help communities in need.”              

Alabama-Coosa River System Dredging Project - $3 million

The Alabama-Coosa river system was seriously damaged when Hurricane Dennis wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast.  The state of the river system has significantly strained existing industry that relies on the river. As an example, the silting and shoaling as a result of Dennis is increasing the transportation costs of a single industry on the river by $100,000 each month.  The Army Corps of Engineers will use this funding to begin dredging the system to alleviate the problems that have plagued barge traffic over the past several years. 

“The Alabama-Coosa River runs through an economically depressed area of the state in serious need of industry and good paying jobs,” said Senator Shelby.  “If the Alabama-Coosa can achieve full operational status, jobs and industry will follow.  We must not forget the damage these counties have endured.  The dredging will ensure that this vital waterway is restored to the people of Alabama.”