House passes funding bill with $20 million for NASA hypersonic test facility in Ohio

By Sabrina Eaton - Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a $982.8 billion 2020 spending bill to fund multiple federal departments that includes $20 million for a National Aeronautics and Space Administration hypersonic test facility in Ohio.

The bill to fund federal agencies including the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Defense, State, and Energy was adopted in a largely party line 226-203 vote. All Republicans in the legislative body opposed the bill, along with seven Democrats, none of whom were from Ohio.

Toledo Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur said the measure includes $20 million to redevelop a Hypersonic Tunnel Facility (HTF) at NASA Glenn Research Center’s Plum Brook Station in Sandusky. She said the Defense Department will use the facility to develop and test hypersonic weapons, which incorporate the speed of a ballistic missile with the maneuverability of a cruise missile. They can evade missile defense tracking systems and interceptors.

The legislation also included an amendment that Kaptur authored with Michigan Democrat Dan Kildee that raised the amount of money devoted to fighting Grass Carp in the Great Lakes to $1 million. Kaptur said Grass Carp, as well as the better-known Big-Head Carp, could devastate the Great Lakes fishing and tourism industries. She said Grass Carp have already been found in Lake Erie and Lake Michigan.

The bill also includes funding to fight toxic algal blooms in the Great Lakes and to dredge Cleveland harbor, as well as legislative language that would bar the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from disposing of the harbor sediment in Lake Erie, as it has previously sought to do, Kaptur said.

The bill provides $400 million to buy four new C-130J airplanes for Air Force Reserve units that Niles-area Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan hopes will end up at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station, which uses the planes for combat support missions and aerial spraying.

He said the bill also contains millions to clean up polluted rivers, investment in electric vehicles and additive manufacturing, and funds substance abuse prevention and treatment block grants.

“These funds will be a huge boon for our economy and community,” said a statement from Ryan.

By Sabrina Eaton

Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland

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