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MIKULSKI ANNOUNCES SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE APPROVAL TO EXPAND MANUFACTURE OF BORDER PATROL AIRCRAFT IN HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                        
May 22, 2012

‘Appropriation bills are jobs bills, important for Maryland and our country,’ says Mikulski

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) today announced that she secured $43 million to expand the manufacture of Multirole Enforcement Aircraft (MEA) used to protect our borders by the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Air and Marine Program.  Further funding the manufacturing of this important aircraft will create or save hundreds of jobs in Northern Maryland.

“This bill is a jobs bill,” Senator Mikulski said. “This federal funding would allow expanded production of aircraft necessary to keep our borders safe, as well as save hundreds of Maryland jobs. By supporting Maryland manufactures on the factory floor and the assembly line, we are promoting economic security while giving those on our borders’ front lines the tools they need to protect our national security.”

The MEA Program is part of CBP’s aviation modernization plan to replace, upgrade and standardize their 30 year old fleet. Sierra Nevada Corporation in Hagerstown, Maryland was awarded a contract through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for FY 2009 to procure the first five of 30 to 50 aircraft described in the recapitalization plan submitted to Congress. The contract was not funded in FY 2010 or FY 2011. In the FY2012 appropriations, it was funded at $21 million.

The federal funding allotted by this bill would allow Sierra Nevada Corporation to purchase two addition multirole aircraft as well as keep their production line open. Without funding for FY 2013, production in Hagerstown would be forced to shut down, essentially terminating the program or cause delays and additional delays to restart it.

In the next step of the appropriations process, the bill will move to the Senate floor for a vote, which has not yet been scheduled. 

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