U.S. Senate passes bill with $168M for JBER runway extension and other military projects

soldier boots
Soldiers stand at attention at a 2014 ceremony at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (Justin Connaher/USAF)

The U.S. Senate has passed a national defense bill that includes a 5.2% pay raise for service members and eight military construction projects for Alaska worth $168 million.

The largest share of the project funding would be for a runway extension at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, in Anchorage. The second would be housing for Fort Wainwright soldiers, in Fairbanks.

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan issued a statement highlighting the Alaska projects. He also said he’s disappointed Democratic senators didn’t agree to boost total military spending above the $886 billion President Joe Biden requested, which Sullivan called “anemic.”

Sullivan’s office did not respond to questions about the bill or an interview request Monday.

His statement also credits him for getting exemptions that allow Alaska Native Corporations to more easily win defense contracts. One exempts them from a proposed rule that would require defense contractors to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions. The pending rule is part of the Pentagon’s plan to mitigate its climate impact.

The House has also passed a defense bill with a 5.2% pay raise. Unlike the Senate version, it includes limits on service members’ access to abortion and transgender care. The two bills go next to a conference committee.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Alaska Public Media. She reports from the U.S. Capitol and from Anchorage. Reach her at lruskin@alaskapublic.org.

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