"Team Maryland" Seeks Funds Promised for BRAC Construction

WASHINGTON - Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, joined a bipartisan coalition of her Maryland congressional colleagues in sending a letter to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives Appropriations Committee Chairmen and Ranking Members on Friday, urging them to fund the military construction projects that are required under the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. This funding, which was approved by the full Appropriations Committee in 2006, was not included in the Continuing Resolution (CR) currently being considered by Congress. Senator Mikulski and her colleagues are requesting that these military construction projects be funded in the fiscal year 2007 Emergency Supplemental spending bill, which Congress will debate later this month.

"While I applaud the bipartisan effort that worked on the CR, I am frustrated that the failure of the Republican leadership in the 109th Congress means that crucial programs have been cut. But I am not going to stop fighting," said Senator Mikulski. "We fought to win BRAC as Team Maryland, and we will fight to make sure Maryland communities have what they need in the federal checkbook to implement the BRAC decisions."

Senator Mikulski was joined by her "Team Maryland" colleagues Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D), House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D), Representatives Wayne T. Gilchrest (R), Albert Wynn (D), Roscoe Bartlett (R), Elijah Cummings (D), Chris Van Hollen (D) and John Sarbanes (D) in signing the letter to U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) and Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), and U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey (D-Wis.) and Ranking Member Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.).

The text of the letter is below:

We are writing to urge you to fund the military construction projects required under the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process when the Committee considers the FY 2007 Emergency Supplemental later this month. The 2005 BRAC round will bring significant military assets and thousands of new Defense Department employees into the State of Maryland. BRAC military construction funding is critical to ensuring that the necessary infrastructure is in place to prevent a disruption in the military missions of incoming organizations, many of whom are providing direct support to our troops on the battlefield.

The failure of the 109th Congress to complete its work on the FY 2007 Military Construction/Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill has created a crisis for states like Maryland that have been strongly impacted by BRAC. While the continuing resolution increased the BRAC account by $1 billion over FY 2006 levels, the burden of implementing the 2005 BRAC round has increased the need for funding to well above $5 billion. Unless these funds are made available in FY 2007, it will be very difficult to complete implementation of the BRAC recommendations by 2011, as required by law.

In Maryland, we are very proud of the military installations across our State. We urge you to add BRAC funding to the Emergency Supplemental spending bill to provide the incoming military organizations with the facilities they require to meet their mission in defense of our nation.

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