Sen. Durbin praises passage of defense appropriations bill

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) praised the bipartisan approval on Thursday of the Defense Appropriations Act by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Durbin, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, applauded the approval of the $549.3 billion spending bill for the DoD, the intelligence community and Overseas Contingency Operations, according to a press release from Durbin's office.

"Today's bill makes targeted investments in support of the Defense Department's most valuable resource - the three million active duty, reserve and civilian employees," Durbin said. "It sets clear priorities, removes $11.7 billion in unnecessary funding and reinvests those funds where they are needed the most. It also sets out to maintain the U.S. defense industrial base for the long term."

The bill prioritizes support of the military, veterans and their families and funds high priority projects. The legislation would also invest in innovation to maintain U.S. technological superiority.

"This bill also protects America's leadership at the cutting edge of innovation," Durbin said. "For decades, Defense Department technologies have revolutionized the world. Many of these breakthroughs began as a novel solution to a military problem and ultimately gave the world life-changing technology like GPS and the internet. We must continue to invest in medical breakthroughs and technological advancements that keep us at the forefront of innovation, improve the health and safety of our troops and contribute to our overall national security."

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), the chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said the bill ensures troops are ready through training, state of the art weapons and key investments in cutting-edge research. The bill also provides for missile defense programs abroad.

"I'm pleased that the bill provides $621 million for Israeli Missile Defense programs, an increase of $117 million from fiscal year 2014 levels," Mikulski said. "Of this, $351 million is provided for the Iron Dome system, doubling the requested funding for the very system that is right now intercepting rockets with amazing accuracy that are being fired indiscriminately by Hamas into Israel."