Metro-East News

July 17, 2014

Defense bill funds National Guard, VA claims

The nearly $550 billion Defense Department funding bill for 2015 contains new money for the Illinois National Guard, the processing of veterans health claims and the purchase of bullets from the Olin Brass plant in East Alton and the General Dynamics plant in Marion.

The measure, which the Senate Appropriations Committee approved Thursday, also fully funds the 1 percent pay raise for military and civilian personnel, benefiting 13,000 Illinois National Guardsmen and the tens of thousands of personnel serving at Naval Station Great Lakes, Rock Island Arsenal and Scott Air Force Base, near Mascoutah.

The Pentagon spending bill includes $1.3 billion for the Boeing Company, at its plant in St. Louis, to build 22 additional EA-18G Growler, the carrier-based electronic warfare airplane. Hundreds of metro-east residents work at the Boeing plant.

The spending bill takes effect Oct. 1, the start of the federal government's fiscal year.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, the chairman of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, announced the Defense Department funding in a statement issued Thursday.

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