July 26, 2018 In The News, Media

N.J.’s 2nd biggest employer gets new protections in federal defense bill

July 26, 2018

The final bill setting U.S. defense policy protects Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, the state’s second largest employer, from a new round of base closings has cleared the House.

The House on Thursday passed the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which sets Congress’ defense priorities for the 12 months beginning Oct. 1 and includes $716 billion in military spending. The final bill was negotiated with the Senate, which is expected to clear the legislation.

It ensures that the first group of new refueling tankers will arrive on schedule.

The bill “allows the joint base to continue to play a major role in our national security and local economy,” said Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-3rd Dist., whose district includes the facility.

The vote was 359-54, with only two members of the state’s congressional delegation voting no: Reps. Frank Pallone Jr., D-6th Dist., and Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-12th Dist.

The legislation authorizes spending for 15 KC-46A refueling tankers, which will replace the KC-10s now housed at the joint base. The Air Force announced last year that the joint base’s 305th Air Mobility Wing eventually would get 24 of the new KC-46 tankers by 2021.

“These refueling tankers will bring new jobs and growth to our state and make our base an indispensable starting point for national security missions on the East Coast,” said Rep. Donald Norcross, D-1st Dist., a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

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