Budzinski Helps Pass Bipartisan National Defense Bill with Local Priorities

WASHINGTON — Today, Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski (IL-13) joined 162 House Democrats and 147 House Republicans in passing a National Defense Authorization Act to strengthen U.S. national security. The legislation includes three requests put forth by Congresswoman Budzinski to support operations at Scott Air Force Base and drive domestic military-grade boot manufacturing at the Belleville Shoe Manufacturing Company. 

“Every year, the National Defense Authorization Act gives us an opportunity to bolster our nation’s readiness and support local military needs,” said Congresswoman Budzinski. “In my first year in office, I was thrilled to have three bipartisan amendments included in this package that will support Scott Air Force Base and the Belleville Shoe Manufacturing Company. I’m excited to see legislation signed into law that will support good-paying defense production jobs in our region and drive infrastructure improvements and natural disaster readiness at our critical military base.”

Budzinski previously voted against a hyper-partisan version of the National Defense Authorization Act that disrespected servicemembers and stripped them of essential freedoms – including access to reproductive health care. After working with colleagues in the Senate, she was able to have her amendments included in a bipartisan version of the legislation that passed the House today. 

The amendments introduced by Congresswoman Budzinski and included in the final National Defense Authorization Act would:

  • Require the Secretary of the Air Force to examine and craft a repair plan for aging infrastructure used in air mobility operations at bases around the country, including Scott Air Force Base. This provision ensures that critical national security infrastructure like runways, ramps and control towers are prioritized in receiving the repairs they need. 
  • Require the Secretary of Defense to examine the threats posed by flooding and other natural disasters to military installations and provide potential mitigation strategies. This provision aims to increase the preparedness of our military installations for damaging weather phenomena, like the four major flooding events that have occurred in the last ten years at Scott Air Force Base. This provision ensures that bases maintain operational readiness and safety as extreme weather occurs with more frequency.
  • Require the Department of Defense to examine current military footwear regulations and provide recommendations on improvements to support the footwear needs of our troops. This provision aims to support domestic military-grade boot manufacturing, like that done by Belleville Shoe Manufacturing Company, a small business in St. Clair County that has manufactured military-grade boots for over 100 years. This provision also ensures that military footwear complies with the standards that military members need as large companies increasingly move into military boot manufacturing.

The Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act passed the Senate by a vote of 87-13 and now heads to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

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