September 19, 2017

Van Hollen Fights for Maryland Priorities in the National Defense Authorization Act

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen voted last night to support the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes important investments for military installations across Maryland.

"This legislation makes important investments in the brave men and women who serve in our armed forces, as well as the equipment and research needed to face current and future threats. Maryland is home to many of military installations integral to keeping our nation safe, and we worked hard to ensure they have the funding they need," said Senator Van Hollen. "But this military funding alone is insufficient for the lasting security and prosperity of the United States. As we work to meet the needs of the Department of Defense, we must also invest in strengthening our economy, improving our schools and job training programs, and furthering our diplomatic efforts across the world."

Senators Van Hollen and Cardin worked to pass several amendments that further the priorities of Maryland, including:

  • Extend federal Historically Underutilized Business Zone Empowerment Contracting (HUBZone) eligibility to small businesses in Garrett County, Maryland and in other HUBZone areas around the state. This will ensure these communities get the boost they need to grow more jobs and improve their economies.
  • Direct the Department of Homeland Security to report to Congress on the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center at Fort Detrick before taking any steps to close or reduce the operations of this invaluable national laboratory. The lab was designed and built in response to shortcomings in basic knowledge of bio agents, bio investigations, and bio-related prosecution following the anthrax attacks in 2001.
  • Direct the Army to deliver a plan to Congress for the demolition of contaminated unused facilities that endanger readiness and cost millions of dollars to maintain. This is an important issue for Aberdeen Proving Ground, which is home to unused chemical testing buildings that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to maintain unnecessarily.
  • Require the Department of Defense to deliver a plan on how it will bring its runways into compliance with its own safety regulations regarding clear zones. The clear zone at Joint Base Andrews is not in compliance.