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Enzi, Senate pass defense spending

Bill includes provisions for Boy Scouts, Laramie companies and pay raises

October 7, 2005

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., said legislation passed today by the Senate will provide $14.5 million dollars to the Laramie area for Wyoming-made military products, fund the nation’s military for another year and would prevent discrimination against the Boy Scouts of America.

The Senate passed the DoD Appropriations by a vote of 97-0 Friday. The bill contains about $440 billion in spending authority for the DoD for fiscal year 2006. It provides funding for a 3.1 percent across-the-board pay raise for military personnel.

“This bill provides for procurement, personnel, operations, maintenance, research and development, and other programs that are essential to protecting our country,” said Enzi. “This bill also protects an institution that has shaped the lives of many young men. An amendment in the bill would ensure the Boy Scouts can not be discriminated against and I am pleased, as an Eagle Scout myself, to stand up for the organization.”

The Department of Defense (DoD) Appropriations bill, H.R. 2863, allocates $7 million to purchase the Palmtop Emergency Action for Chemical (PEAC) system produced by Aristatek of Laramie. The appropriations also contains $7.5 million for the Electroconversion of Energetic Materials research and development project headed by Nanomaterials Discovery Corporation of Laramie.
“With both mind and body Wyoming contributes to our national defense. Our young men and women sacrifice on the battlefield and our researchers continue to look for new and better ways to make us all safer,” said Enzi.

PEAC received $3.5 million in last year’s DoD Appropriations conference report and the Electroconversion of Energetic Materials received $2.5 million.

PEAC is a handheld system that provides emergency information about hazardous materials and weapons of mass destruction. It currently stores information for 10,000 chemicals and their physical properties, as well as hazard ratings, respirator recommendations and suggestions for chemical protective clothing.

Nanomaterials Discovery Corporation is working with the Army Material command at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey to develop fuel cells powered by high energy materials such as propellants and explosives. This technology can provide applications for portable power for soldiers, enabling development of miniature power supplies for fusing and arming of munitions and for “self-sterilizing” smart land mines that render themselves harmless after a certain period of time. This technology could also enable the reuse of obsolete ammunition by converting its explosive components into electrical power.

Boy Scouts

Enzi supported an amendment that was unanimously approved by the Senate that would ensure federal agencies could provide the same amount of support for the Boy Scouts and other youth organizations as the agencies have in the past. Enzi co-sponsored an identical amendment in the Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2006.

As part of a 1999 lawsuit filed by the ACLU, a U.S. District Judge in Chicago, Illinois ruled earlier this year that the Pentagon could no longer spend money to ready a Virginia military base for the national Boy Scout Jamboree. The ACLU claims Department of Defense help is unconstitutional because the Boy Scouts believe in a duty to God.

The Senate bill will now go to a conference committee where it will be reconciled with the House version. The House passed its version of the Defense Appropriations bill by a vote of 398-19 on June 20, 2005.