A company that manufactures airplanes in Hagerstown that are used to monitor the nation's borders would receive $43 million to continue production under legislation approved by the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday.

Sierra Nevada Corp., a Nevada-based company with a plant in Hagerstown, outfits the twin-engine aircraft with sensors that assist Customs and Border Patrol agents on the ground with catching people who cross the border into the U.S. illegally.

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If approved by Congress, the funding will keep the company's production line open, allowing it to begin work on two new aircraft. The $45 billion proposal, which funds the Department of Homeland Security for the fiscal year beginning in October, passed the committee on a 27-3 vote.

The legislation, which faces Republican opposition over other provisions, has yet to be scheduled for a vote in the Senate.

"This federal funding would allow expanded production of aircraft necessary to keep our borders safe, as well as save hundreds of Maryland jobs," Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat and member of the Appropriations Committee, said in a statement.

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