WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Gary Peters, D-Michigan and U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph,, applauded the recent signing into law of their bipartisan, bicameral legislation, H.R. 5944. This important legislation updates and modernizes the leasing programs necessary to keep National Guard units and Air Force Remote Pilot Aircraft (RPA) operations on airfields where they currently operate.
“The missions of the 110th Attack Wing are reshaping America’s fighting forces for the future, and they play a critical role in protecting our national security,” said Senator Peters. “I’m pleased the legislation Congressman Upton and I worked together to pass was quickly signed into law. This new law will help the Battle Creek Air National Guard and W.K. Kellogg Airport continue to grow West Michigan’s role as a key location for cutting-edge national defense missions.”
“W.K. Kellogg Airport here in Southwest Michigan has long enjoyed a close relationship with the Michigan National Guard, and our bipartisan legislation – now law – enables that productive partnership to continue,” said Upton. “I again want to thank Senator Peters for his efforts in getting this to the president’s desk and I know we both appreciate President Obama acting swiftly to sign it into law. This is a big win for Southwest Michigan as we keep an eye on the future for critical national defense undertakings.”
“With President Barack Obama’s signature on legislation last week, Air National Guard units that fly remotely piloted aircraft at civilian airports do not face large lease payment increases,” said retired Maj. Gen. Gus Hargett, president of the National Guard Association of the United States. “Under the new law, the Federal Aviation Administration now considers RPA missions to be aeronautical and units that fly them are immune from possible lease hikes.”
H.R. 5944 was introduced in the House by Upton and U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins, D-New York, and was advanced by unanimous votes in both the House and Senate. The legislation was jointly developed by Upton, Peters, the National Guard, the Air Force, and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Peters introduced similar legislation in the U.S. Senate, which was included in broader legislation to reauthorize the FAA. For a fact sheet on the legislation, please click here.
In September, Upton and Peters attended the opening of a new RPA facility at the Battle Creek National Guard Base.