The U.S. House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee advanced a defense funding bill that includes a 4.6 percent pay raise for troops as well as more than $240 million to boost programs and projects that contribute to Maryland’s defense-focused economy championed by Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger.
The $761.1 billion Defense Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2023 now heads to the full U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.
Ruppersberger leveraged his role on the committee to secure funding that will benefit Maryland’s 20 military installations, as well as the research and development conducted at Maryland institutions and by Maryland-based contractors to make American troops safer on the battlefield while supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs.
The bill funds agencies and programs in the Department of Defense, including the National Security Agency, U.S. Military Academies and military services. It also funds intelligence efforts outside of the Pentagon at organizations like the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Central Intelligence Agency. Much of the federal government’s medical research funds are also funneled through the Defense spending bill because of their impact on wounded warriors and veterans.
In all, Ruppersberger secured $103 million for medical research at the request of Maryland-based institutions that can compete for the funding ― and have successfully in the past ― plus $240 million for other Maryland-connected defense projects. Highlights include:
● $49 million for infrastructure improvements at the U.S. Naval Academy, in Annapolis;
● $16 million to renovate runways, including at Martin State Airport, home to Maryland’s Air National Guard;
● $15 million for a program to expand telehealth services to children in military families with severe behavioral challenges that currently includes Kennedy Krieger Institute;
● $30 million for the Peer-Reviewed Orthopedic Research Program, which currently includes the ● $40 million for the Spinal Cord Injury Research Program, which currently includes peer-reviewers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine;
● $5 million to support hypersonic weapons simulation and prototyping lead by the University of Maryland.
Additionally, the bill included several critical provisions supported by Ruppersberger, such as:
● $300 million to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia’s unprovoked invasion and another $225 million for the region under the Baltic Security Initiative;
● $1 million to the Army for renaming installations, facilities and roads that bear the name of Confederates;
● Requires for-profit contractors to pay a minimum wage of $15 an hour;
● Prohibits funds from being used in contravention of the War Powers Resolution.