NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2006
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Mr. KOHL. Mr. President, the decisions made by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission are final. All around the country communities are now forced to deal with the difficult reality of how to approach the redevelopment and transfer of a local military facility that is being closed. In my State of Wisconsin, the city of Milwaukee is faced with the difficult prospect of what to do after the 440th Airlift Wing leaves Mitchell Field. The community, the State, and our congressional delegation fought long and hard to protect the proud men and women of the 440th, but we were not able to convince the Commission that closing the 440th would be a mistake.
Senator Snowe offered an amendment that I believe will make the process of transferring and redeveloping base properties easier and faster. Senator Snowe proposed to allow the property to go directly to a local redevelopment agent and avoid the current complicated and time consuming process. A faster process means a quicker return to economic vitality, and I support that.
Senator Snowe also proposed that the local community not have to pay for the land the Federal Government is giving up. It is only fitting that in these communities that have given so much to our military men and women that we give something back. Pulling up stakes and removing an important economic engine is bad enough, but to then expect the redevelopers to pay for the land as well just adds insult to injury. It is unfortunate that this amendment that will make the transition process easier for Milwaukee and communities around the country was not accepted.