Congress approves funds for major NASIC project at Wright-Patt

The U.S. House Thursday passed a $147 billion spending bill that included key funding for one of the biggest projects in the history of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

The bill, which passed the Senate Wednesday, pays for legislative programs, veterans programs, military construction and energy and water programs and most notably an expansion to the National Air and Space Intelligence Center at Wright-Patt. It now goes to President Donald Trump, who has signaled he will sign the bill.

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The bill included the first installment of a $182 million expansion project at NASIC. Rep. Mike Turner, a Dayton Republican, worked to get the the funding. The bill includes language saying that the first installment of $61 million for the project will become “immediately available” in order to speed up the project, Turner said. NASIC is currently housed in an antiquated, overcrowded World War II era facility.

The bill also included $366.9 million to decontaminate and decommission the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon, Ohio. The final figure was $60 million above Trump’s budget request and will help continue cleanup efforts at the former uranium enrichment plant. The House also approved $41 million for the onsite disposal cell.

The spending bill also included $8.8 million for base security infrastructure at Youngstown Air Reserve Station and $7.4 million for a new machine gun range at Camp Ravenna. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, inserted the language.

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Finally, the bill included language barring the Army Corps of Engineers from dumping toxic material dredged from the Cuyahoga River shipping channel into Lake Erie without the approval from the State of Ohio as well as language forcing the Corps to release a report aimed at helping to prevent Asian Carp from entering the Great Lakes, threatening its $7 billion fishing industry. The report is aimed at helping federal, state, and local policymakers determine how best to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.

The final vote on the bill was 377-20. Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Troy, was the lone Ohio no on the bill, though Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, who is running for the U.S. Senate, did not vote on the bill.

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