Obama signs bill to extend NJ Joint Base program
President Obama signed a bill on Friday that will ensure that the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst military facility near Trenton stays open until 2017. The Joint Base is New Jersey's second largest employer, with over 40,000 workers.
In October, Obama vetoed legislation of The National Defense Authorization Act, which had protected the facility from closing. Third district Congressman Tom MacArthur (R), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, called the veto a "reckless decision" and has lobbied since then to get Obama to sign a revised version of the NDAA. Senator Robert Menendez (D) has worked with MacArthur in the effort to fund the base's operations, which includes the KC-10 aerial refueling program.
“Today we celebrate the final passage of our nation’s defense bill," wrote MacArthur in an email. "The NDAA will preserve the future of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and the tens of thousands of jobs in South Jersey that depend on it and ensure our nation’s heroes have the tools they need to keep America safe, strong and free.”
MacArthur recently told New Jersey 101.5's Bill Spadea that keeping the KC-10 program running was essential for mobilization of US military assets, and key to the future of the Joint Base facility. Home to the 305th Air Mobility Wing, the Joint Base currently deploys aircraft for refueling missions all over the world. The base was also a starting point in recent years for troops headed to the Middle East. In December 2014, Obama visited the base as major military deployment was winding down in Afghanistan.