WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate on Wednesday approved a trio of funding bills in a package that included legislation crafted by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) to secure $83 million for the future pilot training center in Fort Smith and deliver care and benefits veterans and their families have earned.
“Investments in military infrastructure are critical to protecting our national security. This legislation enhances Arkansas’s defense capabilities and continues our commitment to ensure Ebbing Air National Guard Base has the resources to support the needs of allied pilots who will soon be training here. I’m proud to improve health care and services for veterans so we can live up to our obligation to care for the men and women who served in our nation’s uniform,” said Boozman, Ranking Member of the Senate Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations subcommittee.
Boozman also successfully fought for the inclusion of an amendment based on his VA Emergency Transportation Access Act to protect rural veterans’ access to life-saving emergency medical transportation. Additionall, the Senate-passed package included the Agriculture, Rural Development, and Food and Drug Administration and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies appropriations bills.
Boozman also secured funding for additional Arkansas priorities including:
$67 million for the construction of I-49 near Fort Smith.
$11.5 million to increase freight rail capacity at the Port of Little Rock.
$4 million to construct a covered canopy at Clinton National Airport in Little Rock.
$2.5 million for upgraded traffic infrastructure to improve security access at Ebbing Air National Guard Base.
Transportation education, research and improved safety and fuel efficiency.
Natural State-based Agriculture Research
$77.4 million for the Food and Drug Administration’s research promoting and protecting public health conducted at the National Center for Toxicological Research in Jefferson.
$1.08 billion to support agricultural research conducted and funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including increases for Cooperative Extension, and university research.
$110 million for human nutrition research that will support healthy child development, including the valuable work conducted at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
Funds the National Feral Swine Damage Management Program to reduce adverse ecological and economic impacts caused by feral swine across Arkansas and the nation.
Rural Development and Public Safety
$1 million for the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Arkansas Digital Interventions for Care and Education telemedicine mental health program.
$1.5 million for a Fire and Public Safety Center in Wilson.
Passage of this legislative package is a critical step in the process to fully fund the government for Fiscal Year 2024. Next, the Senate and the House of Representatives must agree to the same language and each chamber must approve the compromised bills and be signed into law by the president.