House defense spending bill could bring $146M to joint base

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JOINT BASE -

Congress is working to advance a defense spending bill that would send millions of dollars Joint Base Maguire-Dix-Lakehurst.

Activity at the base is set to ramp up as Boeing is scheduled to send its first KC-46 refueling aircraft to the base starting next year.

“Two hangars are coming down and we’re going to rebuild a large three-bay hangar for the KC-46s,” says Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur, who toured the base Thursday. “There’s a lot going on here.”

The base employs about 41,000 people and MacArthur estimates that more than 100,000 others rely on the base in the local communities.

The spending bill would send $146 million to Joint Base Maguire-Dix-Lakehurst if it passes the Senate and the president. But the bill faces a tough road in the Senate due to several factors.

The $789 billion package exceeds spending caps and $1.5 billion will go toward President Donald Trump’s Mexico border wall. Democrats are expected to fight the bill.

MacArthur says that while he supports the border wall, it is not his priority.

“Look, we need to secure our border. There’s a lot of ways to do that,” he says. “I’m not that hung up on how that gets done.”

MacArthur says the bill would be the most defense spending in more than a decade, with pay raises for the military and money for missile defense. He says that this money is sorely needed in the face of North Korea’s threats.

“People think we can just knock anything out of the sky that’s coming our way. It’s not true,” he says.

MacArthur says that it will be more challenging to pass a defense bill in the Senate now that Sen. John McCain will be absent for his cancer treatments.

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