Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake

In this July 10 photo, civilian workers assigned to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake repair damaged base infrastructure after multiple earthquakes occurred July 4 and 5. Funding for repairs to the heavily-damaged base is included in the 2020 defense bill that will be voted on by Congress possibly this month.

The compromise 2020 defense bill includes the amount requested by Navy officials to repair damage at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, the epicenter of a series of massive earthquakes in July.

The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act conference report, in which House and Senate negotiators reconciled competing versions of the defense budget, was unveiled Monday.

It authorizes $658.4 billion for the Department of Defense, as well as an additional $71.5 billion to pay for ongoing wars and $5.3 billion in repairs to installations from earthquakes and other natural disasters in California and four other states.

Congress is expected to vote on it by the end of the month.

Among the provisions relating to China Lake are $1.15 billion for planning and projects for the rebuilding effort and an additional $64.5 million for runway and taxiway extensions.

This matches the full Navy request for Fiscal Year 2020, according to release from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, whose 23rd District includes China Lake.

“China Lake plays an essential role in defending our national security and I am pleased that this bill works to guarantee the base has the resources it needs to remain on the cutting edge of weapons technology development,” he said.

The breakdown in projects related to earthquake damage includes $89.32 million for planning and design; $514.6 million to replace Hangar 3, apron, taxiway and utilities; $50.8 million for an aircraft parking apron in support of the Hangar 2 replacement; $202.34 million for the Michelson Mission Systems Integration Laboratory; $138.9 million for magazines and inert storage facility; $70.9 million for the air operations facility and the air traffic control tower and $85.79 million for the community support facilities.

A Navy assessment, made public in August, calculated $5.2 billion in damages on the base near Ridgecrest, including more than two dozen buildings that were 50 years or older.

In a bipartisan show of support earlier this month, both of California’s Democratic senators and two Republican representatives urged Congress to approve the funding.

The letter signed by Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, McCarthy and Rep. Paul Cook, asked for support for the Navy’s updated funding request of $1.78 billion during consideration of the defense bill.

The China Lake base within McCarthy’s 23rd District and Cook’s 8th District is adjacent.

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