Brindisi lauds Rome-related items in defense bill

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Protection of jobs at Rome installations and financial support for research and manufacturing are part of the defense authorization act passed by the House of Representatives, Congressman Anthony Brindisi, D-22, Utica, announced today.

Brindisi, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, noted the following Rome-oriented measures in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2021:

$30 million for three projects in quantum innovation, the next generation of computing, and unmanned aerial systems, or drones, at Rome Lab, formally known as part of the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate.

Funding for manufacturing projects at Raytheon in Rome. Protection against workforce reductions in the Defense Finance and Accounting Service in Rome by requiring the Defense Department to confer with Congress about changes in workforce levels.

An amendment prohibiting the Air Force from transferring Air National Guard personnel until it submits a plan for creating a reserve component of the new Space Force, which Brindisi said will protect the 222nd Command and Control Squadron in Rome.

The massive annual spending-authorization bill passed the House with a veto-proof majority and heads to the Senate. It also directs the Defense Department to rename military installations named for Confederate leaders.

Brindisi, a first-term member of Congress facing a rematch in November against former Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, a Republican from New Hartford, announced that attached to the bill are several measures he wrote or sponsored:

The Care and Readiness Enhancement for Reservists Act allows guard and reserve members to use veterans’ centers for mental health screening and counseling, employment assessments, education training and other services to help return to civilian life.

Seeding rural Resilience Act, which trains Agriculture Department employees to recognize farmers mental health crises and establish best practices to promote mental health among farmers.

A measure requiring the Defense Department to report annually when it determines it cannot get supplies domestically.

The South China Sea Freedom of Navigation Act adds requirements to existing law on reporting to Congress regarding China’s claims and U.S. actions in response.

Also in the bill is $88 million for a Navy laser system to fight drones, cruise missiles and small boats to be made by defense contractor Lockheed Martin in Owego, near Binghamton.

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