President Donald Trump has requested $120.9 million for a new building at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Rep. Mike Turner announced Wednesday.
The request, tucked into Trump’s budget request for the fiscal year that begins in October, is the second Trump has made for the NASIC expansion.
But the first installment is in question: Though Congress approved $61 million for the building last year, Trump’s emergency declaration to build a wall at the U.S.–Mexico border would divert $3.6 billion from last year’s military construction money to build the wall. It’s unclear whether the initial $61 million would be swept into that funding or not, and Trump has not announced which projects would be affected. The House voted to block Trump’s emergency declaration and the Senate will take up that bill Thursday.
The NASIC money, part of the military construction request, was initially expected to be allocated in three separate installments. Trump’s budget would fast–track that, and presuming the base was allowed to use the initial $61 million, would fully fund the new building in two years instead of three.
“This important project is moving forward with the Administration’s support for full funding approval this year,” said Turner, a senior Republican on the House Armed Services Committee who advocated for the full $182 million in funding. “I strongly support this request and will work to get this funding into the final bill the President signs.”
He added that “this monumental investment in our community is a testament to the critical national security work being done at Wright–Patt.”
Turner has been a vociferous opponent of using military construction dollars to pay for the wall, but voted against the Democratic resolution to terminate the national emergency because he “could not support Nancy Pelosi’s political ploy…to keep the border open.”
On Wednesday, Turner said he has “worked diligently to make this project a reality and will continue to do so until this project is completed.”
“I remain adamantly opposed to any use of military construction funds being cannibalized to secure our border,” he said. “I have made this abundantly clear to the Administration and will continue to do so in order to protect funding for much needed national security projects, including the new building at NASIC.”
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, was leery, however, saying "we have to make sure that the numbers on paper actually result in money for the Dayton community, and we cannot allow the president to take money from Wright–Patt to pay for his wall."
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said the money will upgrade overcrowded, outdated, World War II-era buildings that currently house the intelligence center.
“The mission of NASIC at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is critically important and I’m pleased that the president’s budget supports funding these important facility upgrades to continue NASIC’s vital work," he said. "These new facilities are critical for NASIC to fulfill its increasingly important intelligence analysis mission for our Air Force and national policymakers."
While last year’s budget included requests for a machine gun range at Camp Ravenna, a fire station at the Air National Guard Station at Mansfield Lahm Airport and the relocation of the main gate at the Youngstown Air Reserve Base, this year’s budget only included money for the NASIC building.
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