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Schumer Meets With NARS Commander; Pledges To Fight To Support Base In 2005

Schumer and Colonel Roberts Discuss Station Operations and Role of NARS Personnel in Operation Iraqi Freedom Schumer Helped Secure Funding Commitment from New DOD Comptroller Tina Jonas for Visiting Quarters

US Senator Charles E. Schumer today met with the Commander of the Niagara Air Reserve Station (NARS), Colonel Jim Roberts, to discuss ongoing operations at NARS as well as efforts to enhance the station and support its personnel. NARS is home to the 914th Airlift Wing and the 107th Air Refueling wing, both of which have served as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The Niagara Air Reserve Station is critically important to the local economy and to our military. The men and women of the 914th Airlift Wing and the 107th Air Reserve have nobly served our country in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and deserve nothing less than our full support. Im fully committed to fighting for funding that will support the enhancement of the Station, and to doing whatever I can to make sure that NARS will continue to play a crucial role in our militarys future.

In the Administrations FY06 budget proposal released last week, $9.2 million was included for the construction of a Visiting Quarters at NARS, but funding must be approved by Congress. In January, Schumer called the current Department of Defense Comptroller, Tina Jonas, to support the inclusion of full funding for the NARS Visiting Quarters in the Department of Defense budget. In making this request, Schumer asked that Comptroller Jonas honor a commitment made by her predecessor. Schumer, who aggressively lobbied the Department of Defense to support funding for NARS, said funding for the Visiting Quarters must be included the Defense Budget this year. Jonas was receptive to his request and said she would do everything she could to fund the program.

In March, Schumer joined Senator Clinton, Representative Slaughter, and Representative Reynolds in meeting with Defense Department Comptroller Dov S. Zakheim and urged him to include funding for the visiting quarters in the 2006 budget. Construction for a Visiting Quarters for airmen at NARS is needed to replace deteriorating billeting at NARS which currently does not meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards, New York Safety Codes, or US Air Force Quality of Life Standards. Delays in construction, or a failure to replace the current Visiting Airmans Quarters at NARS would increase the governments investment in maintenance of the facility and costs to the base associated with energy and high maintenance costs of the current facilities.