Tester, Baucus secure over $17 million for Malmstrom, Great Falls

Bill will create jobs upgrading Air Force base

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Montana will receive more than $17 million to upgrade Malmstrom Air Force Base, thanks to a funding bill passed by a key Senate panel, Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus announced today.

The funding is part of the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill passed by Senator Jon Tester and his colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill now goes to the full Senate for approval.  It must also be approved by the U.S. House of Representatives and signed into law by the President.

"We appreciate the continued support of our Montana delegation,” said Colonel Michael Fortney, Commander of the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base. “These projects will enhance our ability to conduct our vital mission here at Malmstrom."

“This is a smart investment in the folks who put their lives on the line to protect us, which is why I’ll support these projects every step of the way,” Tester said.  “I fought for these projects in the Senate Appropriations Committee because they’re important for the men and women in uniform and because they’re right for Montana.”

“These projects will make Montana – and all the people who live here – stronger,” said Senator Max Baucus, who worked closely with Tester in securing Montana’s funding.  “These smart projects will make our communities safer and more prosperous, and they’ll create good-paying jobs.”

Malmstrom Air Force Base will receive $9,600,000 for an upgraded Weapons Storage Area.  The funds will be used to construct explosive storage igloos, maintenance facilities, and utility infrastructure upgrades.

$7,600,000 will go to create a new Armed Forces Reserve Center.
  A National Guard facility on Malmstrom Air Force Base will be expanded to become a shared facility for Guard and Reserve units.

In addition to the military construction, the bill includes:

  • Hiring 1,200 new staff to evaluate veterans’ claims.
  • Maintaining the veterans mileage reimbursement rate of 41.5 cents per mile, as secured by Tester last year.
  • $440 million to continue and expand the VA’s Rural Healthcare Initiative first begun last year.
  • $500 million to expand the VA’s homelessness programs, such as the Willis Cruse House in Helena.

Tester also included language in the bill directing the National Cemetery Administration to study the possibility of establishing a National Veterans Cemetery in the Upper Midwest.  Tester’s language requires the Administration to give consideration to the Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery.