“I feel optimistic about the future of our base,” said Rep. Donald Norcross, D-1st Dist.

WASHINGTON — Funding for KC-46A refueling tankers at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst would speed up and President Donald Trump would be barred from beginning a new round of base closings under legislation setting defense policy for the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 2018.

The $692 billion National Defense Authorization Act, an annual bill setting Congress’ defense policies, passed the House on Tuesday, 356-70. Senate passage is assured since the final bill was negotiated by lawmakers from both chambers.

“I feel optimistic about the future of our base,” said Rep. Donald Norcross, D-1st Dist., a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Will Pentagon back Rutgers hotline for vets?

Four New Jersey lawmakers, Reps. Frank Pallone Jr., D-6th Dist.; Albio Sires, D-8th Dist., Donald Payne Jr., D-10th Dist., and Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-12th Dist., voted no.

The legislation called for funding 17 tankers rather than the 15 originally proposed. They will replace the KC-10 tankers now housed at the Joint Base. The Air Force announced in January that the joint base’s 305th Air Mobility Wing eventually would house 24 tankers by 2021.

The bill also called for $146.5 million for new construction at the Joint Base, primarily for hangars needed to house the new planes.

Lawmakers rejected Trump’s request for a new Base Realignment and Closure commission to shut down military facilities. New Jersey officials have been concerned that a new round of base closings would target the joint base, just as McGuire Air Force Base was more than two decades ago.

But they decided not to renew support for Vets4Warriors, a suicide-prevention hotline operated by Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care in Piscataway where veterans answer telephone calls from other veterans who are depressed or have …read more

Source:: New Jersey Real -Time News

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