Hare Urges President to Sign Defense Bill
Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL) today called on President Bush to sign the Fiscal Year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes an extension of the Arsenal Support Program Initiative (ASPI).
The President recently vetoed the bipartisan legislation over provisions that would allow plaintiffs in the United States to sue foreign governments. The Iraqi government protested to the Administration fearing that litigation from Americans held prisoner by Saddam Hussein during the Persian Gulf War could freeze Iraqi assets in the United States. Today, the House of Representatives passed a revised version of the vetoed bill which includes a presidential waiver for the disputed section. The fix also includes a sense of Congress statement that the State Department should work directly with the Iraqi government to try to address the claims by U.S. citizens against the Saddam Hussein regime.
The NDAA reauthorizes ASPI through 2010. The program, which is set to expire in 2008, renovates unused office or manufacturing space at Rock Island Arsenal to lease to commercial firms. It currently has 20 tenants, generates $285,000 per year in revenues, and has created nearly 500 jobs to date. ASPI has dedicated $8 million to facility improvement projects. Current projects in planning or construction will add another $1 million per year in revenues to the federal government.
"The Rock Island Arsenal continues to play a critical role in strengthening our national security," Hare said. "ASPI has helped keep the Arsenal strong and prosperousto the benefit of our troops around the world. I urge President Bush to do the responsible thing and sign this bill into law."
"The continued effort by our Congressional delegation to extend ASPI is welcome news from the Rock Island Arsenal Development Group and those involved in the Arsenal," said Jimmy Morgan, Program Director of the Rock Island Arsenal Development Group. "This program has been most instrumental in bringing tenants and jobs to the Island."
Last month, Hare successfully secured $11.5 million for ASPI in the Defense Appropriations bill.
The NDAA also includes a pay raise for our troops and several provisions to improve veterans' health care.