Base-closure prohibition included in defense bill

The U.S. Senate passed a bill Thursday that includes efforts by South Dakota’s senators to strengthen the future of Ellsworth Air Force Base.

The bill would prohibit military base closures for at least one fiscal year, ward off retirement of existing bomber planes like the B-1s at Ellsworth, and support the development of new bombers.

Though the bill faces a veto threat, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., praised it.

“Not only does it ensure that our B-1 fleet is maintained, our airmen and women are trained, and the long-range strike bomber moves forward, but this bill rejects President Obama’s call for another round of BRAC closures, which would actually cost more money in the short term,” Thune said in a news release issued Thursday after the Senate’s 71-25 vote. Thune and Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., both supported the bill.



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