Lankford Votes to Support a Pay Raise for Oklahoma Service Members, Bolster National Defense & Deter Adversaries
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today voted to support final passage of the Senate’s annual National Defense Authorization Act, which supports Oklahoma’s military installations and bolsters our national defense initiatives. The bill passed the Senate in a vote of 86 to 11. The Senate bill is separate from the House version passed last week and will now be negotiated by House and Senate Members in a Conference Committee to rectify any differences in each bill.
“National defense is an essential responsibility of the federal government. Today the Senate passed the 63rd annual defense bill, which makes it clear to our adversaries that the United States of America will remain strong,” said Lankford. “This bill prioritizes military readiness in Oklahoma and around the nation, recognizes the need to stop our reliance on communist China for critical minerals, provides military spouses career opportunities, and even increases overtime pay for our border law enforcement. We honor our commitment to our warfighters and their families and ensure they have what they need for their missions.
“The bill I supported today provides an important pay raise for our military and Guard members. I helped secure provisions in the bill for improvements to our procurement processes, necessary changes for contracting, and increased attention to base housing repair and upkeep. I even secured provisions to help address the tremendous backlog of passports at the Department of State. I look forward to finalizing the vital defense bill with our colleagues in the House by early this fall.”
Some of the wins for Oklahoma’s military installations include:
Tinker Air Force Base
- Provides $78 million for the third installation of the KC-46 3 Bay Depot Maintenance Hangar at Tinker Air Force Base
- Secures a three-year extension of direct hire for domestic defense industrial base facilities, Major Range and Test Facilities, and the Office of the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation
- Requires the Air Force to maintain 16 E-3 AWACS until the Air Force can bring more E-7 Wedgetails online to replace them, in order to ensure our Air Force maintains readiness.
- Ensures full funding for the KC-46 and the B-21 missions at Tinker Air Force Base and ensures the Air Force’s Sustainment Center at Tinker remains operational
McAlester Army Ammunition Plant
- $1.19 million for planning and design of new water treatment plant
- Full funding for 155-millimeter ammunition, and general purpose bombs
Vance Air Force Base
- $8.4 million for the undergraduate pilot training center
- Improvements to the quality and oversight of military enlisted barracks, including the replacement of substandard barracks and requiring that enlisted housing meet the same basic standards as all other military housing
- Fully funds the T-7, which will replace the T-38 Talon training aircraft
- $76.6 million for the Microgrid and backup power
- Fully funds long-range precision fires and air and missile defense
Altus Air Force Base
- Fully funds the KC-46 program
- Modifies and improves the calculation of basic allowance for housing (BAH) rates with respect to junior enlisted members, which will directly benefit Altus Air Force Base
Oklahoma National Guard
- $400,000 for a vehicle maintenance shop in Ardmore
- Payroll increases for Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve military technician (dual status) civilians
- Directs DOD to pay reserve component pilots sufficient compensation to cover all inactive-duty training periods per month necessary for the pilots to obtain or maintain an aeronautical rating or designation.
Additional wins for Oklahoma and the entire nation include:
- Provides a pay raise for our Armed Forces and civilian contractors
- At Lankford’s direction, requires the Secretary of Defense to report the implementation of training pertaining to religious freedom
- Adopts provisions from Lankford’s ADAPT Act to support defense contractors and small businesses while maintaining the integrity of security clearances
- Includes Lankford’s Quad Critical Minerals Partnership Act to authorize investments in mining and manufacturing of critical minerals with Quadrilateral Security Dialogue nations to diversify outside of China and strengthen national security
- Authorizes increased funding for counter-unmanned aircraft systems technology research and development, providing $5 million for Army RDT&E to assist Oklahoma State University’s work in counter-UAS technology research and development
- Includes Lankford’s Passport Act to address the eight-month delay of the passport backlog impacting 3 million Americans
- Adopts Lankford’s Border Patrol Enhancement Act to provide a pay raise to Border Patrol Agents
- Adopts Lankford’s Military Spouse Employment Act to give clear authority to hire military spouses to fully remote positions to maintain careers while loved ones serve
- Advances Lankford’s Intergovernmental Critical Mineral Task Force Act to coordinate federal, state, and private-sector efforts to increase domestic production of critical minerals
- Includes Lankford’s Combating Cartels on Social Media Act to combat illicit recruitment activity by transnational criminal organizations on social media and other online platforms to fight back against cartels using online platforms to recruit Americans for smuggling operations along the southwest border.
- The Intel Authorization Act, which increases oversight and accountability of our intelligence community and ensures Americans’ First Amendment rights are protected.
- Includes Lankford’s MARITIME Act to strengthen maritime security coordination between the United States, Israel, and Abraham Accords partners to counter Iran’s illicit activity at sea.
- Requires the Comptroller General to review the TRICARE Pharmacy Benefits Program, including the recently awarded nationwide pharmacy contract and its effect on TRICARE beneficiaries’ ability to obtain the medications they need in a timely manner.