Senate panel advances funding for Malmstrom Air Force Base

Measure will fund better fitness, quality of life for airmen based in Great Falls

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Jon Tester and his colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Committee have passed legislation that will improve the physical readiness and quality of life for airmen stationed at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Tester and Senator Max Baucus announced today.

The Senate Military Construction Appropriations Act contains funding for the second phase of construction of Malmstrom’s fitness center to include an indoor swimming pool, a group exercise area and a health and wellness center.  The Great Falls base is currently the only northern tier base without an indoor swimming pool.

David Weissman, chairman of the Central Montana Defense Alliance, says the funding will create jobs, improve fitness and improve the quality of life for men and women who stand ready to protect the United States.

“This is the right kind of investment in Great Falls and Malmstrom.  It’s good for our base and it will put folks in Great Falls to work,” Weissman said. “We appreciate Jon’s and Max’s efforts to bring this money to Great Falls and know they understand the vital role the base plays in our community.”

Under the current legislation, Malmstrom Air Force Base would receive $8,000,000 to build the new fitness facility.  The legislation must first pass the full Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives before the funding can be signed into law.

“This is an important, long-term investment in the people who defend our nation at Malmstrom,” said Tester, who also serves on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.  “The resources we invest in Malmstrom will strengthen the airmen stationed there.  It will strengthen their quality of life.  And that means it will strengthen our national security.”

“This is welcome news to make Malmstrom an even better place to serve our nation,” Baucus said.  “Physical fitness is a key part of military service, and investing in this facility is a smart way to ensure Malmstrom’s airmen have access to good training and exercise.  I’m proud of this funding and I look forward to going to bat for it as it makes its way through Congress.”

For a full list of funding for Montana under the Military Construction Appropriations Act, click HERE.

What is an appropriations bill?
  • A federal appropriations bill funds the federal government.  12 appropriations bills will fund the federal government for the next Fiscal Year.
  • Less than one half of one percent of these appropriations bills consist of congressionally directed funding (also called “earmarks”).  This funding is not additional spending for the federal government, nor does it increase federal deficit.  Rather, it is a set of directions telling the government where it must use existing funds.
  • In the past, appropriations funding had been abused by anonymous requests with little transparency.
  • Since 2007, the process was overhauled to guarantee transparency and fair debate in Congress.
  • All of Tester’s and Baucus’ appropriations requests are online HERE and HERE.