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Action Alert

December 20, 2013


US Senate Sends Bill With Lajes Provision 

To President Obama

Senate Approved National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014


The House, which has recessed for the holidays, has already approved the bi-partisan measure, and President Barack Obama is expected to sign it. In a vote that ended around 11:40 p.m. Thursday, the Senate voted 84-15 to pass the 2014 national defense authorization act (NDAA), which clears the Pentagon to spend $607 billion, including $527 billion in base funding and $80 billion for America's global operations. The measure passed the House last week 350-69.


The NDAA FY14 contained a provision to the Lajes Air Force Base in the Azores, which would keep it open until a reevaluation process of restructuring the US military presence in Europe completed.


NOPA has been working in collaboration with the Portuguese American Citizenship Project on advocacy efforts to mobilize the Portuguese American community to contact their elected officials to support the measure. NOPA and its lobbying arm, Lusitania Consuliting, has also been collaborating with the Portuguese Embassy in Washington, DC on efforts to raise awareness on Capitol Hill of the importance to the United States of keeping the Lajes Base open.


According to the Portuguese American Journal, The Lajes Air Field, one of seven main operating bases under U.S. Air Forces in Europe, would have lost more than 400 military personnel and 500 family members with its closing.  The closing would have significantly affected the local economy, since more than 700 Portuguese civil workers at the Air Force Base, the island's second largest employer, would have lost their jobs.


Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-MI said "the bill before us is not a Democratic bill and it is not a Republican bill. It is a bipartisan, bicameral defense bill."

The defense policy bill is "one of the essential pieces of legislation the Senate considers every year," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY., said this week. The NDAA "is legislation that puts muscle behind America's most important strategic objectives around the globe."


Francisco  Semi´┐Żo, NOPA's Founding Director, is pleased with the results citing the bi-partisan manner in which the NDAA was passed with the support of the Obama Administration, and is "preparing for the next steps to ensure the US Department of Defense sees the value of keeping the Lajes Base at capacity."


NOPA would like to extend its gratitude to the Co-Chairs and members of the Congressional Portuguese Caucus for championing this effort in Congress in particular Representative Jim Costa, Representative David Valadao, Representative David Cicilline, and Representative Devin Nunes. Please take time to contact their offices to thank them for their work representing the interests of our Portuguese American community.


About NOPA

NOPA is a national non-profit, non-partisan, tax-exempt organization created to address the many growing needs of the Portuguese-American community living in the United States.

Headquartered in the Greater Washington DC Region, NOPA conducts applied research, policy analysis, advocacy, and providing a Portuguese-American perspective in critical policy areas. NOPA provides Portuguese language education and culture promotion as well as capacity-building assistance to its affiliates who work at the state and local level to advance opportunities for individuals and families.

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