The annual defense spending bill could mean hundreds of millions of dollars for New Mexico’s military bases and national labs if it clears the House and is signed by President Donald Trump.
The National Defense Authorization Act for 2020 passed the Senate before the Fourth of July break by an 86-8 vote. New Mexico’s Democratic senators, Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall, supported the legislation. The House is expected to vote on the bill this week.
“This bill makes major investments to ensure our Armed Forces are equipped with the most modern technology so we can stay ahead of our adversaries,” Heinrich said. “New Mexico is the center of excellence for small satellites and for directed energy weapons, and this bill increases funding and streamlines authorities to bolster those missions.”
Heinrich said the bill also makes major reforms to fix the military housing crisis and takes meaningful action on contamination at dairies outside Cannon Air Force Base. In an interview with the Journal, U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., said the House version includes requirements for Kirtland Air Force Base to report the progress made to remediate contaminated soil and groundwater and detail the Air Force plans to engage and coordinate with local water utility authority, state environmental agencies and surrounding communities. And U.S. Rep Xochitl Torres Small, D-N.M. said the bill includes an amendment that will allow not-for-profit utilities, such as electric cooperatives, to receive Department of Defense funds to improve infrastructure in surrounding military bases.