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Proposed defense budget would give state firms almost $43 million to create military items

A defense budget that's being debated by the U.S. Senate would give Wisconsin firms almost $43 million to create new things for the military.

C&D Technologies of Milwaukee has already gotten a million dollars to develop a new lithium-ion battery for Army vehicles.

And the firm would get another $6.2 million under an earmark added by Wisconsin Democrat Herb Kohl.

He also inserted $3 million to develop a more durable paint for military vehicles, $4 million for a new heating and cooling system for tactical vehicles, and $3 million for a laser range fighter to help troops locate enemy targets.

Lawmakers added items the military did not ask for like 10 new cargo planes for the Air Force and a $1.7 billion destroyer.

And critics say the military might not want some of those items since the money comes from a $3 billion pot of spending reductions for military maintenance and operations.

Kohl says he says makes the sure the military needs his earmarks and he says they help Wisconsin gets its share of federal money while creating new jobs.