(House of Representatives - August 01, 1996)

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[Pages H9796-H9801]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                               ACT, 1997

  Mrs. VUCANOVICH. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to the previous order of the 
House, I call up the converence report on the bill (H.R. 3517) making 
appropriations for military construction, family housing, and base 
realignment and closure for the Department of Defense for the fiscal 
year ending September 30, 1997, and for other purposes, and ask for its 
immediate consideration.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the order of the House of today, 
the conference report is considered as having been read.
  (For conference report and statement, see proceedings of the House of 
Tuesday, July 30, 1996, at page H8958.)
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentlewoman from Nevada [Mrs. 
Vucanovich] and the gentlemen from North Carolina [Mr. Hefner] each 
will control 30 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Nevada [Mrs. Vucanovich].

                             general leave

  Mrs. VUCANOVICH. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all 
Members may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend 
their remarks on the conference report to accompany H.R. 3517, and that 
I may include tabular and extraneous material.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentlewoman from Nevada?
  There was no objection.
  Mrs. VUCANOVICH. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
  Mr. Speaker, The conference report we present to the House today for 
military construction, family housing, and base closure recommends a 
total appropriation of $9.9 billion. This represents a $1.2 billion, or 
10-percent, decrease from last year. The conference report is $50 
million below the House-passed level and is within the subcommittee's 
revised 602(b) allocation.
  Mr. Speaker, the House conferees had more than 200 differences to 
resolve, representing over $1 billion. We have done so in an equitable 
manner. At the same time, we held to our priorities and provided an 
additional $195 million for troop housing and $271 million for family 
housing above the President's request.
  Overall, the agreement recommends $4 billion for items related to 
family housing; $2.5 billion for the implementation of base 
realignments and closures; and $3.2 billion for military construction.
  Mr. Speaker, the projects to be implemented with this appropriation 
are still subject to authorization. We have worked closely with the 
National Security Committee in crafting this bill. This cooperation has 
been invaluable and I understand they support this agreement.

[[Page H9797]]

  As always, I want to express my appreciation to all members of the 
subcommittee and especially our ranking member, Mr. Hefner, for this 
cooperation in crafting this agreement. It has been done in a 
bipartisan manner and is an equitable compromise.
  This bill represents an investment program that has significant 
payback in economic terms and in better living and working conditions 
for our military personnel and their families. I urge my colleagues to 
support this conference report.
  Mr. Speaker, I include the following material for the Record:

[[Page H9798]]


[[Page H9799]]


[[Page H9800]]

  Mrs. VUCANOVICH. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  I rise today in support of the military construction appropriations 
conference report, which was signed by all the conferees, and has 
strong bipartisan support.
  I also want to compliment the distinguished chairwoman of the 
Military Construction Subcommittee for her fine work. Mrs. Vucanovich 
has worked hard to produce a good bill that responds to needs of our 
service men and women, and she has done so in a bipartisan fashion. She 
will be missed on both sides of the aisle. Our service people and their 
families will also miss Mrs. Vucanovich, who worked so very hard for 
their well being.
  The bill contains almost $10 billion in total funding and responds to 
the highest priority requirements of the Joint Chiefs and 
  There has been a significant reduction in funds for military housing 
with all the base closures, bottom up reviews and 5-year plans. I am 
very pleased that the conference agreement continues our bipartisan 
effort to address the quality-of-life issues for both enlisted 
personnel and families of military members, including facilities in 
North Carolina. It may not seem that glamorous to fund barracks, family 
housing and child care centers, but if you have had any exposure to the 
military way of life, you know that providing a decent place to live is 
an important factor in military readiness.
  This bill also takes care of many other critical needs of the 
Department including the base closure construction and clean-up 
requirements, critically needed medical facilities, major new 
homeporting facilities and other operational upgrades. I'm pleased to 
see the report includes funding for both a hospital and a clinic badly 
needed at Fort Bragg, as well as completing an important land 
acquisition there.
  It is an excellent bill and I urge all Members to support this 
bipartisan conference report.
  Mr. HEFNER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, this is a very good bill. We are happy with the end 
product that we have here. I would just like to take this time to tell 
the gentlewoman from Nevada [Mrs. Vucanovich], the chairman, that we 
are going to miss her in this body and congratulate her and the staff 
on a job well done on this military construction bill. It is a very 
good bill. It enhances the quality of life for our military personnel.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman 
from Maryland [Mr. Hoyer].
  Mr. HOYER. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this 
  Mr. Speaker, I want to rise as well and express my admiration and 
respect for the gentlewoman from Nevada [Mrs. Vucanovich], the chairman 
of this subcommittee. She has done an outstanding job both as a member 
of the Subcommittee on Military Construction of the Committee on 
Appropriations, and as chairman of that subcommittee. I had the 
privilege of serving with her as a member of that subcommittee for a 
number of years. Her leaving the House will be a loss not only to the 
House, but to the men and women of the Armed Services for whom she has 
done a great deal in terms of quality of life and in terms of assuring 
ourselves that from a military infrastructure standpoint we have 
facilities that are adequate not only to protect the quality of life 
for our men and women in the Armed Services, but also to protect our 
  I wanted to rise, Mr. Speaker, and pay tribute to her. This will be 
probably the last time, at least in terms of a sole bill, and hopefully 
this bill is going to be signed relatively soon, that she will be 
presenting this legislation. As one who has had the opportunity to work 
with her, she has been a credit to this institution and a credit to her 
State and a credit to our country.

  I also want to say, of course, that the gentleman from North 
Carolina, Bill Hefner, the ranking member, who has been the chairman of 
this committee, worked very closely with the gentlewoman from Nevada 
[Mrs. Vucanovich] himself, is someone who has been a leader on behalf 
of the quality of life of our men and women in the Armed Services. I 
rise in strong support of this legislation and congratulate both the 
chairman and the ranking member on their leadership in this effort.
  Mr. BLILEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 3517, 
the military construction appropriation conference report. I want to 
especially commend chairwoman Vucanovich for the good work, and to let 
her know that this House will sorely miss her.
  Contained in the conference report is funding which will allow the 
army to finish the planning and design work, and to purchase the land 
for the construction of a new national ground intelligence center 
(NGIC) in Charlottesville, VA.
  The NGIC's mission is to produce scientific, technical and general 
military intelligence on foreign ground forces. The NGIC currently 
occupies six geographically separate buildings in Charlottesville. By 
all accounts, these facilities are woefully inadequate to fulfill the 
NGIC's vital mission. In 1986, an army corps of engineers facility 
requirement review concluded that the Charlottesville facilities ``are 
grossly inadequate in virtually every parameter measured.''
  There are critical management inefficiencies and costs associated 
with operating an intelligence organization spread out over six 
locations. In addition, the main building in downtown Charlottesville 
has serious structural and environmental safety shortcomings, as well 
as electric power and mechanical deficiencies.
  For many years, the army has been working to build a suitable 
facility to house the NGIC. A number of studies--including the BRACC--
have determined that relocation of the NGIC outside of Charlottesville 
is neither operationally nor economically feasible.
  Once again, I applaud chairman Vucanovich for her leadership is 
helping to give the NGIC the facility that it so urgently needs.
  Mr. FAZIO of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the 
Military Construction Appropriations Conference Report for fiscal year 
1997. I would like to thank the chairwoman of this committee, Barbara 
Vucanovich, who has once again moved this bill swiftly through the 
Appropriations Committee and the conference committee, and I am sad to 
say will be doing it for the last time. I want to wish her well and 
would like to personally thank her for the service that she has 
provided to this important subcommittee and this institution. I would 
also like to thank the ranking member of the Subcommittee, Bill Hefner, 
for his help and assistance in bringing this legislation to the floor.
  This bill provides nearly $10 billion in fiscal year 1997 for 
military construction, family housing and military base closures. This 
bill continues this House's commitment to funding initiatives that 
upgrade the quality of life for the men and women of the armed forces 
and their families.
  Mr. Speaker, I would like to highlight a few important projects in 
the bill that are important to the Air Force bases in my district.
  The first project is the ongoing renovation of the dormitories at 
Travis AFB. This bill provides funding for one dormitory scheduled for 
construction this year, and funding to speed up construction of a 
second dorm at Travis. Additionally, this bill includes $8.63 million 
for the construction of 70 multi-family housing units for enlisted 
personnel stationed at Travis. This project goes a long way to improve 
Travis' housing situation. The construction of the dormitories are part 
of a base-wide project to upgrade and improve base housing in order to 
meet Air Force requirements.
  This bill also provides funds to replace Travis' underground fueling 
system. The system was designed to provide a quick and efficient way to 
refuel two jets at one time. Travis currently relies on an underground 
system from the 1950's, which often fails because of electrical shorts 
which occur after rainstorms. The new fuel system is safer and more 
efficient than the fuel trucks on the runway. It will also put an end 
to the occasional leaks which are so bad for the environment.
  These upgrades are a clear sign that Travis is, and will remain, 
vital to Air Mobility Command's mission.
  Mr. Speaker, this bill also provides for three projects at Beale AFB: 
the closure of Landfill No. 2, the CARS Deployable Ground Station 
Support Facility and 56 units of family housing.
  Funding for the closure of Landfill No. 2 will allow the base to 
comply with California standards governing landfills. Currently, Beale 
is out of compliance with California law.
  The bill also will provide for the construction of a new home for the 
Contingency Airborne Reconnaissance System [CARS] Deployable Ground 
Station [DGS]. The DGS is an important mission that provides Air Force 
commanders with a satellite downlink that provides critical information 
from the battlefield. The current facility is stationed in mobile 
trailers and is unable to adequately support this mission. Failure to 
provide adequate support for this function would significantly degrade 
CARS operational capability to provide theater commanders worldwide 
with dynamic, responsive intelligence support for battlefield 
management and execution.
  Finally, funding is provided for 56 family housing units on base. 
Funding for the 56 units of family housing at Beale is the second phase 
of a multi-year plan to eventually replace 1,700 family housing units 
on base. The new housing will significantly improve the quality of life 
for those stationed on base. Current housing facilities are substandard 
and are in need of being replaced.

[[Page H9801]]

  Mr. Speaker, each of the initiatives I have outlined will help 
maintain Travis AFB and Beale AFB as critical defense assets and as 
integral parts of their respective communities. The projects that I 
have indicated are important to the ongoing missions at each base.
  In closing, I want to reiterate my support for this important bill 
that provides for the quality of life for our troops and is vitally 
important to maintaining military readiness.
  Mr. HEFNER. Mr. Speaker, I have no further requests for time, and I 
yield back the balance of my time.
  Mrs. VUCANOVICH. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the kind words from the 
gentleman from Maryland. It has been a great honor to serve this body 
and to carry this bill.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Hayworth). Without objection, the 
previous question is ordered on the conference report.
  There was no objection.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the conference report.
  Pursuant to the provisions of clause 7 of rule XV, the yeas and nays 
are ordered.
  Pursuant to clause 5, rule I, further proceedings on this question 
are postponed until the end of consideration of the conference report 
on the bill, H.R. 3845.