Tonight, the Senate approved, for the second time, the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4986) by a vote of 91 to 3 and will send it to the President for his signature. Earlier this year, both the House and Senate overwhelmingly passed the Defense Authorization Act, but it was vetoed at the eleventh hour by the President in late December.
Senator Salazar worked to include several amendments in the bill, including amendments that will help curb encroachment around military bases, address Army expansion at Pinon Canyon, and hold DOD's feet to the fire in completing weapons destruction at the Pueblo Chemical Depot. The final bill is expected to be brought up in both the House and Senate for final passage before the end of the year. It would then be sent to the President's desk for his signature.
"I am pleased that upon our return to Washington, we were able to pass the Defense Authorization Bill so quickly," said Senator Salazar. "This legislation is critical to our military installations in Colorado and to supporting our troops and their families. I am especially proud that we were able to include a number of provisions in this bill that will directly and positively affect Colorado's military families and the missions of our military installations. I am eager for the President to sign this bill into law."
I. CURBING ENROACHMENT NEAR MILITARY INSTALLATIONS LIKE BUCKLEY, SCHRIEVER AND PETERSON AIR FORCE BASES: The conference report includes an amendment by Senator Salazar directing the Department of Defense to develop and present a legislative proposal to further address the military installation encroachment problem (to be presented to Congress when the President submits the budget for Fiscal Year 2009), and to provide to Congress by March 1, 2008 a report on what steps the DoD has taken to address the issues.
Military installations, ranges and airspace throughout the country have been constrained by increased development, population growth and loss of habitat on non-military lands. To address this problem, in 2002 Congress gave the Secretary of Defense the authority to work with government and private partners to establish buffer zones to protect training and testing areas. The Secretary of Defense implemented this authority by creating the Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative (REPI).
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