CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — The National Defense Bill is on the verge of passing, and it has some beneficial items for our region. In total, the defense spending comes to $858 billion and there are items in the bill of local interest.

Money is being set aside for flooding prevention projects through the Army Corps of Engineers.
The Appalachian region is among the most flood-prone in the nation. Also, there will be a pay raise for all military personnel. And a controversial COVID-19 vaccine mandate, that pushed reluctant people out of the military, will be abolished.

“They did not get the vaccine and had in many cases religious or other reasons why not. Anyway, this removes that vaccine mandate. I mean we are well past that time we know and I support this,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, (R) West Virginia.

West Virginia will receive more federal funding to operate two Mountaineer Challenge Academies, that have turned around the lives of thousands of troubled teens. The Green Bank Observatory in Pocahontas County will also be getting more federal aid. And the C-130 maintenance program will continue to be fully-funded at West Virginia International Yeager Airport in Charleston.

There are eight amendments to this bill to be debated, but WOWK 13 News is told the U.S. Senate vote could come Thursday night or Friday.