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  • Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013

    by Representative Rodney P. Frelinghuysen

    Posted on 2013-03-06

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    FRELINGHUYSEN. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

    I rise in support of the resolution and urge its adoption.

    I would like to commend the chairman of the full Appropriations Committee, Mr. Rogers, and the chairman of the Defense Subcommittee, Mr. Young, for their determination and perseverance in bringing the completed Defense and Military Construction/VA bills to the floor for our consideration this afternoon and this morning.

    Since before the end of last fiscal year, they have been committed to completing the fiscal year 2013 bills in committee and to bringing them to the floor and on to the President's desk for his signature.

    Why? Because they understand the damage that would be done to our national security if the Department of Defense was forced to operate under the funding levels and restrictions placed on them by the fiscal year 2012 bill.

    By passing this package today, we'll be giving our military leadership additional flexibility to protect their mission and capabilities in this constrained fiscal environment.

    I would also add that the passage of these measures today reinforces Congress' authority to set policy for the Department of Defense in important areas such as the Air Force realignment, the retirement of Navy ships, etc. And also it makes sure that we don't cede these sort of decisions only to the executive branch.

    I'm pleased that the package also allows additional funds for nuclear weapons modernization, to ensure the safety, security, and reliability of our Nation's nuclear stockpile. This is an important aspect of our energy and water appropriations bill.

    Finally, I'd remind our colleagues that this legislative package does nothing to alter the sequestration that took effect last Friday. Simply put, that is a problem, a major problem.

    Five members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff presented their chilling testimony before our subcommittee last week, as the chairman referred to earlier, describing how national security would be put at risk if they were forced to make deep reductions in spending for personnel and equipment modernization programs.

    Maintenance will suffer. Training for non-deploying soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen, and Guardsmen will virtually stop. Hardworking civilians will face unnecessary furloughs.

    The Army Chief of Staff testified before our full committee. General Ray Odierno told us of his worry, and I quote: If we do not have the resources to train and equip the force, our young men and women will pay the price, potentially with their lives.

    Marine Commandant General Jim Amos reminded us that America's allies and enemies are watching to determine whether our country remains able to meet its commitments overseas. He said, and I quote: Sequestration viewed solely as a budget issue would be a grave mistake.

    So while this measure before us helps our men and women in uniform, the meat ax of across-the-board sequestration hangs in the air over the defense and domestic programs alike.

    It has now been over 300 days since this House passed its first sequestration replacement bill, and that was last year. Still, the President and the Senate Democrats haven't budged. And their only solution is to raise taxes for the second time in 8 weeks.

    It's time for real balance. More tax increases won't help working families, create jobs and protect our troops.

    By allowing sequestration to continue, it will hurt many working families, terminate hundreds of thousands of jobs, both public and private, and put our men in uniform at risk.

    This resolution takes us forward. I support it. It's important for national security, and I urge its adoption.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.

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