WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, the House Committee on Appropriations voted to approve the FY 15 Defense Appropriations Bill, clearing the way for the full House of Representatives to vote on the defense measure in the coming weeks. Congresswoman Kay Granger (TX-12), Vice Chairwoman of the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, voted in favor of the appropriations bill, which includes support for vital defense and aerospace programs built in Tarrant County.

“The vote this week is a strong showing of national support for the Joint Strike Fighter, the V-22 Osprey and other programs vital to our national security, and our allies, that are produced in North Texas,” said Granger. “These defense programs employ thousands of North Texans, and they are a critical part of the defense industry hub that thrives here.”

The House committee voted to support funding for 38 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters for FY 15, an increase of four jets above the Administration’s FY 15 request. Due to sequestration, the Administration reduced the number of planes they proposed to purchase in FY15. However, Granger fought to add in the four additional aircraft. In order to reduce costs, it is a priority to get the Joint Strike Fighter line to full rate production as soon as possible.  

The bill also funds 19 Bell Helicopter V-22 Ospreys. Additionally, the bill provides funding to modernize the C-130 fleet; a program that is important to the modernization of the 136th Airlift Wing based at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth.

The Defense funding bill includes a pay raise of 1.8 percent for military personnel and fully funds cancer research, medical facility upgrades and traumatic brain injury researching as well as adds funding for suicide prevention programs for defense health and military family programs.

“The defense bill makes modernizing our military a priority as well as ensuring our men and women in uniform are receiving the best health care possible while serving our country. I believe this bill meets those needs and will ensure our service members receive the support and resources they need whether it’s on the battlefield or at home,” continued Granger.

In April, Granger traveled to Asia, which included a stop in Tokyo where she personally discussed the importance of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the V-22 Osprey aircraft with Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe and Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera. In December 2011, Japan officially committed to purchasing 42 Joint Strike Fighters. The first four Air Force version F-35 JSF aircraft will be delivered in late 2016. Bell Helicopter is the largest supplier of helicopters operating in Japan today with approximately 350 sold to date as well as providing for a majority of the helicopters used by the Japanese Coast Guard. Additionally, Japan is considering the purchase of the V-22 Osprey for use later this decade. The Osprey would expand the Japanese capabilities for both military and humanitarian assistance operations.