U.S. House passes defense spending bill

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The U.S. House has easily passed its version of the defense appropriations bill, which includes provisions for the Minot Air Force Base and a 2.6 percent troop pay hike — the largest in a decade.

At $675 billion, the bill has literally something for everyone. But passage came down to inclusion of language that would bar the Pentagon from doing business with Chinese telecom firms ZTE and Huawei. The two are accused of attacking sensitive American communications, the technology sector as a whole and portions of the national infrastructure.

The bill provides the following for North Dakota:

  • $86 million for B-52 bombers procurement, which are flown out of Minot Air Force Base.
  • $700 million for the Long Range Standoff Weapon, which are carried on the B-52s.
  • $414 million for the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent.
  • $129 million for modifications to Minuteman III ICBMs, many of which are housed at Minot Air Force Base.
  • $258 million to replace the UH-1N Huey helicopters, which patrol the ICBMs at Minot Air Force Base.  
  • $33.6 million for the Civil Air Patrol, which provides aerospace education and emergency services across North Dakota.
  • $6.44 billion for Air National Guard maintenance and operations, including for UAS operations. The bill includes over $170 million for MQ-9 updates. MQ-9s are flown by the North Dakota Air National Guard in Fargo.
  • $7.33 billion for Army National Guard maintenance and operations.  

The appropriations bill now goes to the U.S. Senate.

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