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The Portuguese-American Leadership Council of the United States

Established 1991

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The Online Newsletter of PALCUS    

Special Edition: Lajes Air Base Update


Friday, December 20, 2013


Congress Approves National Defense Authorization Act for 2014 Fiscal Year


In a statement released by the office of Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), a ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and co-chair of the Friends of Portugal in the Senate,  it was announced today that the U.S. Senate voted 84-15 to approve the FY2014  National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which expects to be signed into law shortly by President Obama.  


This final version of the bill retains language ensuring that the efficacy of the Lajes Air Base be assessed before any further alterations may be enacted:


"The Secretary of the Air Force may not reduce the force structure at Lajes Air Force Base... until 30 days after the Secretary of Defense concludes the European Infrastructure Consolidation Assessment initiated by the Secretary on January 25, 2013, and briefs the congressional defense committees regarding such Assessment. Such briefing shall include a specific assessment of the efficacy of Lajes Air Force Base, Azores, in supporting the United States overseas force posture."


The amendment to the House Bill was first included at the request of the Portuguese American Caucus of the House of Representatives in a letter signed by Congressmen Devin Nunes (R-CA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Bill Keating (D-MA), David G. Valadão (R-CA), David Ciccilline (D-RI), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Jeff Deham (R-CA) and Doug LaMalfa (R-CA).


Moving onto the Senate, the amendment was stalled in the Senate Armed Services Committee and was in danger of permanent exclusion.  Maintaining a strong relationship with the Friends of Portugal in the Senate under the bipartisan leadership of the caucus led by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Senator Patrick Toomey (R-PA), PALCUS was able to educate and inform the caucus of the strategic significance of this legislation to Portuguese-Americans at home as well as to their families abroad.


Over the past year, PALCUS was been in active contact with the government of the Autonomous Region of the Azores to better assess the impact of the Lajes reduction on the status of the islands and Terceira in particular.  In this way, we have been better prepared to communicate with the congressional caucuses of both the House of Representatives and the Senate in order to provide education and insight on the matter.


PALCUS thanks Senators Jack  Reed and Patrick Toomey, co-chairs of the Friends of Portugal of the Senate as well as Congressmen  Jim Costa,  Devin Nunes, David  Cicilline and David Valladão, co-chairs of the Portuguese American Caucus of the House of Representatives for their outstanding leadership on this issue.


PALCUS will continue to monitor this issue going forward as the circumstances unfold.


Your comments and suggestions on this topis and others are welcomed at palcus@palcus.org. Please do not hesitate to thank your Senators and Congressmen for their support.


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PALCUS Mission

In order to create a singular voice to advocate  for the Portuguese American and Luso-American communities at large, the Portuguese American Leadership Council of the United States Inc. (PALCUS) was founded in 1991  as a 501 © 3 non partisan, non profit, organization headquartered in Washington D.C.
The PALCUS mission is to address domestic and international concerns of the  Portuguese American Community.
The Council conducts an expanding program of educational and public affairs activities on issues of interest to the Portuguese American community and of salience to the Luso-American Relationship.
PALCUS is committed to serving the community through increasingly active government relations efforts, the promotion of a greater awareness of ethnic accomplishments and encouraging stronger ties between Portugal and the United States. In this role PALCUS advance the community professionally, politically and culturally while working to ensure that issues directly affecting our community are addressed through our network of government and community leaders.

PALCUS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization incorporated under the laws of the District of Columbia.  Donations are tax deductible to extent allowed by law.