April 14, 2005

Durbin bill rescues Arsenal funding... for now

A supplemental Iraq war spending bill, endorsed Wednesday by Senate appropriators, overrides Army plans to divert $4.6 million in support money from the Rock Island Arsenal.

The language was included in the $80.4 billion bill by Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., and a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. It is scheduled for debate on the Senate floor next week.

Sen. Durbin inserted the language in response to a move by the Army to cut, by $4.6 million, a $12.5 million appropriation for the Arsenal that was included in the fiscal 2005 defense spending bill. The $12.5 million "shall be available only for industrial mobilization capacity at Rock Island Arsenal," according to legislative language provided by Sen. Durbin's staff.

The Industrial Mobilization Capacity account is meant to cover the costs of maintaining industrial equipment and workspace held in reserve for wartime emergencies. It helps lower work rates for Arsenal production and presumably helps it better compete for contracts with other government and private-sector military producers.

No similar language was included in the $81.4 billion House version of the supplemental. The differing versions will be reconciled by a House-Senate conference committee before final passage.

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