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Hirono Named to Key Conference Committee on Defense Budget

Hawaii’s significant defense interests in the FY 2016 federal budget are likely to find a sympathetic ear in the person of U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, named Thursday to the 16-member National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Committee.

Hirono, a first-term senator, joins many more senior members on the committee, including Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bill Nelson (D-FL) and presidential candidate Lindsey Graham (R-SC). But she wasted no time in making her priorities clear for her work on the committee.

“The NDAA should reflect the United States’ national security priorities by supporting our men and women in uniform, sustaining a 21st century fighting force, and investing in long-term initiatives like the Rebalance to the Asia-Pacific,” said Hirono in a statement. “As a conferee, I will work to see that Hawaii continues to play a vital role in these efforts.”

Hirono voiced concerns on the ongoing impact of federal budget sequestration, which went into effect in 2013 as a fiscal austerity measure. Hawaii’s junior senator said the sequester “harms our economy and our national security. I look forward to working with my House and Senate colleagues to address these issues and find bipartisan solutions that will keep our military strong.”

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