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The Rock Island Arsenal is the economic engine that drives our region’s economy – and as United States representatives for the Quad-Cities, we’re committed to ensuring its success for future generations.

For more than a century – dating back to the Civil War – the hardworking men and women on Arsenal Island have strengthened our national security by manufacturing the equipment that protects our troops.

So in Congress, we’re working together on policies to bolster our local economy and help the Arsenal and its workers stay competitive for years to come.

Three areas we’re focusing on are:

  • Increasing the Arsenal’s workload.
  • Reducing the Arsenal’s overhead costs.
  • Eliminating unnecessary barriers to the Arsenal’s success.

That’s why we introduced two bills this past week to help position the Rock Island Arsenal for the future.

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First, we introduced the Army Arsenal Revitalization Act, which would require the Department of Defense to take deliberate steps to ensure Army arsenals like Rock Island have the workload they need to succeed. The bill would require the Army to issue step-by-step guidance on what it would make at its arsenals and what it would buy from private companies. This guidance would prioritize ensuring the Arsenal has the workload it needs to keep costs down and keep its workers’ skills sharp. This language has since been added to the annual defense authorization bill and will come before the full House of Representatives later this summer.

The Army Arsenal Revitalization Act would also require the Department of Defense to look at what equipment and weapons it purchases exclusively from foreign countries and find ways to shift some of that work to arsenals. This would strengthen national security while creating jobs here at home. Finally, the bill would give the Arsenal the ability to adjust the rates it charges for labor based on workload and market conditions, the same way a normal company would.

Second, we introduced the Arsenal Installation Reutilization Act. This bill would help the Rock Island Arsenal leverage private investment by giving it authority to lease unused administrative and warehouse space. In 2012, arsenals lost leasing authority. By giving the arsenal more flexibility to lease its space, we can help reduce overhead and bring more jobs to Arsenal Island.

We’re proud to represent Rock Island Arsenal and its workers every day in Congress, and we’re working with our colleagues from across the country – and across the aisle – who represent Army arsenals to help ensure they have the tools they need. To be sure, there’s much to do to position the arsenal for the future, but we are confident that by working together, we're on the right path.

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U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos represents Illinois’ 17th Congressional District, which includes the Quad-Cities, Peoria and Rockford. U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack represents Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes Davenport and Bettendorf. Both are Democrats. 

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