Yesterday, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, inspected the damage at Beale Air Force Base's 9th Civil Engineer Squadron building before attending a briefing with senior base personnel.
If the Air Force deems rebuilding the engineering building to be a top priority, which Congressman Garamendi expects they will, unobligated funds will be available through a provision in 10 United States Code 2854 which allows for the reconstruction of priority buildings without needing to go through the lengthy Congressional appropriations process.
"My office has been working closely with officials at Beale Air Force Base and with the Department of Defense, and I'm optimistic funds for the reconstruction of the engineering building will be made available sometime this year," said Congressman Garamendi. "Everyone involved understands how critical the mission at Beale is to our national security. We'll do all that's necessary to see the base once again fully operational."
During the visit, Garamendi talked to many of the military firefighters who helped put out the blaze. Firefighters from eight neighboring municipalities also participated in the effort.
"The response from the firefighters at Beale and from neighboring communities was nothing short of heroic," added Garamendi. "They trained for this day for years, responded promptly and worked in close collaboration. It's comforting to know that when disaster strikes, communities in Yuba and Sutter counties are prepared."
Beale Air Force Base officials have promised continued communication with Congressman Garamendi and his office during the investigation and rebuilding of the 9th Civil Engineer Squadron building.