Omnibus bill allocates $1.7B to JSMC production

By Josh Ellerbrock -

WASHINGTON, D.C. — If Congress’s $1.3 trillion omnibus budget bill moves through as is, Lima will be receiving at least one major appropriation — $1 billion for Abrams Tanks and $648 million for Strykers produced at Lima’s Joint Systems Manufacturing Center (JSMC).

Congressional leadership released the 2,232 pages of its omnibus bill Wednesday night, and despite major objections by both Democrat and Republican members of Congress, the bill has passed the House. It is expected to be on President Donald Trump’s desk before the end of week.

Both of Ohio’s Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown are taking some credit for the almost $1.7 billion to be used to upgrade a brigade of Abrams tanks, to complete the fourth Stryker brigade and to start a second brigade of Stryker vehicles with upgraded weapon systems.

“The newest Abrams tank, designed to combat these advancements, has started coming off the line at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center (JSMC) in Lima. As the Army plans to continue to grow their armor formations, the increased production funded in this bill will be enormously important.” Portman said. “… I am pleased that the final FY 2018 appropriations bill supports the skilled JSMC employees and in turn, the Lima area. Combined with the proposals we have seen in the FY 2019 president’s budget, I believe it will make a difference for our military and allow JSMC to continue assisting our men and women in uniform.”

“Lima’s JSMC workforce helps advance national security and the safety of our troops through its work on the Abrams Tank and Stryker Vehicle programs,” Brown said. “I’ve seen firsthand the critical work performed at JSMC and will keep working to make sure JSMC and its workforce have the funding needed to continue expanding production.”

The region’s representatives, however, aren’t so supporting of the omnibus bill. Rep. Jim Jordan, who voted against it, argues the omnibus bill concedes too readily to Democratic demands and doesn’t include major funding for a border wall with Mexico.

The bill does allocate $1.6 billion toward increased border security, repairs to the sections of the boundary already built on the border, and the construction of some 90 mile of the wall. The White House asked for $25 billion.

Jordan, in solidarity with the House’s Freedom Caucus, also disputed the speed at which the bill has been presented and considered. Less than 24 hours passed before the details of the bill were released and it passed the House.

“This may be the worst bill I have seen in my time in Congress, the worst bill our leadership has ever allowed to come to the floor,” Jordan said on Thursday morning’s Fox and Friends.

Rep. Bob Latta also voted “nay” on the bill.

Other programs and appropriations in the bill mentioned by either Portman or Brown are:

• $65 million to fund the purchase of opioid detection devices and equipment. (Brown)

• A portion of $1 billion allocated to the State Targeted Response grant account to be used against the opioid epidemic. (Brown and Portman)

• $250 million allocated to assistance programs and other initiatives to counter Russia’s disinformation, corruption and malign influence. (Portman)

• Expansion of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. (Brown)

• Improvements to the federal background check system that would make it easier for separate enforcement agencies to obtain information about potentially dangerous individuals. (Portman)

• Allowing the creation of a grant program to train educational professionals to recognize potential mental health problems of students and purchase evidence-based technology or equipment to prevent school violence. (Portman)

• Protections for tipped labor workers regarding a proposed Department of Labor rule that required tipped workers to pass tips to management. (Brown)

By Josh Ellerbrock

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

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