The appointments of members of U.S. Senate committees might not seem like a big deal, but assignments given Nebraska’s two senators this week are good news for the future of Offutt Air Force Base.

Sen. Mike Johanns’ assignments include the Appropriations Committee, which should help secure continued funding for the new, $524 million U.S. Strategic Command headquarters at Offutt. Now-retired Sen. Ben Nelson had served on the panel, which writes spending legislation.

Committee seats given to Sen. Deb Fischer, meanwhile, included the Armed Services Committee, a post she said she sought to help Offutt offset Nelson’s departure from that panel.

And Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, whose 1st Congressional District now includes Offutt, earlier was named to the House Appropriations Committee.

Offutt, which is home to the StratCom headquarters, the Air Force’s 55th Wing and other units, includes personnel from every military branch among the approximately 10,000 military and federal employees assigned there. Its total payroll is about $600 million annually, and a 2011 analysis put its local economic impact at nearly $2 billion.

Nebraska lawmakers are positioned to play important roles in the future of the base, which will continue to play an important role in the future of the Omaha area.

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