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Need To Know - Defense Drumbeat


Location: Unknown

Dear Friend,

The 2013 defense authorization bill passed the House of Representatives today by a bipartisan vote of 299 to 120.

This annual legislation provides for national defense funding and overseas operations. Among other reforms, the bill authorizes a 1.7 percent pay increase for troops and protects the current TRICARE health standards from new fees proposed by the White House. The plan also prohibits the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the United States. The total cost of the bill is $554.2 billion for defense and $88.5 billion for overseas operations, which represents 60 percent of all federal discretionary (non-entitlement) spending.

This legislation freezes the retirement of C-27J Spartan aircraft, a cancellation originally included in the president's budget. This aircraft performs tactical intratheater airlift and has been an incredible asset according to reports from Afghanistan. Key Field Air National Guard Base in Meridian, Miss., currently houses these air assets.

An amendment that I introduced to require a review of the U.S. Air Force's decision to consolidate or cancel Air National Guard Augmentation Units was packaged into the bill during floor debate. These units support worldwide air and space operations. Key Field is home to the 286th Air Operations Group (AOG), a group that reports to Tyndall Air Force Base in their support of the North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) Command and the U.S. Northern Command. I will continue to promote our military installations during this time of nationwide fiscal austerity.

To learn more about what is happening in my congressional office, please join my Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages.

God bless,

Gregg Harper

Member of Congress

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