Hagan touts area benefits in defense spending bill

Published: Monday, December 17, 2012 at 11:16 PM.

The National Defense Authorization Act, passed more than a week ago by the Senate, gives thumbs down to a requested BRAC, provides a pay raise for military personnel, authorizes a biofuels initiative, and includes $45 million for projects at Cherry Point.

The Senate version of the bill, which must now be reconciled with a version in the U.S. House, passed Dec. 5 on a 98-0 vote. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., said in an interview that the bill keeps the biofuels amendment she initiated and fought hard to include.

“I’m pleased with the final bill,” Hagan said.

In includes a 1.7-percent pay raise for active-duty, reserve and National Guard service members.

The biofuels initiative she pushed is not in the House version of the bill, but Hagan said she is hopeful that the $170 million in research fund can help the Navy continue to work on projects she said could save much more money over time.

“Investing in our nation’s biofuels industry will also help create new markets for North Carolina’s farmers and high-tech industries,” Hagan said.

The Defense Department is the largest single consumer of oil, she said, at about 120 million barrels a year, which last year cost $17 billion. Biofuels are more expensive now, but the volatility in the price of oil and that the Defense Department is on a fixed budget, leaves military readiness at risk, said Hagan, who leads the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee.

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