Lawmakers review military spending measure

Freedom Newspapers

Sen. Pete Domenici has asked the Air Force to determine if a military spending measure that the House passed Wednesday could adversely impact New Mexico Air Force installations, according to his spokesperson, Chris Gallegos.

The House spending measure — to be considered by the Senate in coming weeks — provides extra money for military and veterans’ health care, but does not fully fund construction costs related to military base closings and realignments scheduled in 2005.

The spending measure should not impact transition activities slated for Cannon Air Force Base, however, Gallegos said.

Funding for the transfer of Cannon to the Air Force 16th Special Operations Wing should be derived through the military construction appropriations process which begins Monday, Gallegos said.

“That (process) will give us some idea of whether (Congress) will offer a big pot of funding or specify funding for Cannon,” Gallegos said.

The latter would make funding the transition smoother, Gallegos said. But New Mexico lawmakers will seek funding for Cannon from appropriations even if it isn’t specified, he said.

The House measure passed Wednesday earmarks $2.5 billion for construction related to base closings and realignments, while $5.2 billion was sought for the moves.

Gallegos said it’s possible a funding cut could jeopardize construction of an armed forces reserve center at Kirtland Air Force Base.