Millions of dollars in defense funding coming to North Alabama

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - This past week Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act, a spending plan that includes millions for the state of Alabama.

Senator Doug Jones says there are several things included in the final defense bill that will not only benefit all of Alabama but also Madison County and the city of Huntsville.

The National Defense Authorization Act is securing 2 million dollars for cybersecurity, over 100 million dollars for hypersonic research and testing, the authorization of a new U.S. Space Force, and much more.

"Alabama receives the 9th largest amount of money from the federal government in defense and defense contracting. So it's going to support a lot of jobs and support a lot of economy for the state of Alabama," says Senator Doug Jones.

The bill also includes $38 million specifically for Redstone Arsenal.

"For an aircraft and flight equipment building out at the arsenal," says Jones.

Jones says while it's easy to talk about hardware, research, and development for the nation's security, he believes in funding for families.

"We were able to secure a 3.1 percent pay raise for troops. We have put additional money in for impact aid which will help school systems which educate military children," says Jones.

The bill includes the repeal of the military widow tax which impacts an estimated 2,000 surviving spouses in the state.

"$12,000 a year that we are not allowed to collect and knowing that they're going to be able to get this additional money they are entitled to is really a wonderful relief for everybody," says surviving military spouse Lisa Iniguez Dahl.

The bill will also offer 12 weeks of paid parental leave for federal employees.

The bill passed in the House of Representatives and a final vote in the Senate will take place early next week, where it is expected to pass with broad bipartisan support.

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