Louisian legislators secure $1 billion for National Guard

By Nikki Henderson | nhenderson@ktalnews.tv

Published 01/16 2014 01:07PM

Updated 01/16 2014 03:50PM

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu announced Thursday that the bill funding the government for Fiscal Year 2014 includes many Louisiana defense priorities she championed including the Youth ChalleNGe program.

The bill includes $1 billion for National Guard and Reserve to purchase, upgrade and modify equipment that warfighters use every day in battle.

For FY2014, Sen. Landrieu set aside nearly $100 million of the $1 billion for improving and acquiring Black Hawks. The House overwhelmingly approved the bill last night and the Senate passed the bill today.

Sen. Landrieu led the effort to include $135 million for the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program, a $10-million increase from last year's funding level.

Louisiana has three of the most prominent programs in the country, graduating nearly 1,400 cadets each year.  They are located at Camp Minden, Camp Beauregard and Carville.

Sen. Landrieu said, "Young men and women who have been part of the ChalleNGe program are more likely to go on and earn a high school diploma, GED or obtain college credits. And, more importantly, they are more likely to secure a job. This helps them, it helps our communities and it helps us become a stronger, more prosperous nation."

Also included in the bill is language encouraging the Air Force to continue utilizing the Minority Leaders Program for its research and development.
Grambling State University, Louisiana State University, Louisiana Tech and Southern University and A&M College participate in the Minority Leaders Program. 

Meanwhile, Congressman Bill Cassidy along with other Louisiana legislators voted on this bill

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