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  • Insular Areas and Freely Associated States Energy Development

    by Representative Rodney P. Frelinghuysen

    Posted on 2014-12-11

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    FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman for yielding. I thank him for his leadership, and I thank Ranking Member Lowey as well. They both deserve credit for moving this bill.

    As we begin consideration of this important legislation this afternoon, I want to pay tribute to the men and women of our Armed Forces, all volunteers. They deserve our heartfelt thanks for their dedicated service and sacrifice. That is also extended to the professionals in our intelligence community. These men and women-- whether in uniform or not--deserve greater certainty, stability, and predictability in their lives, something that they have often lacked as a result of a flawed congressional budget process over the last several years, which we seek to reestablish today as regular order. And, frankly, so do the American people. They deserve better.

    The centerpiece of this comprehensive package, the engine that drives this bill is our House defense bill, which passed in June with overwhelmingly bipartisan support. Like that [[Page H9276]] bill, this measure assures a strong national defense posture against terrorist groups like ISIL and al Qaeda, and challenges from nation- states like Russia, China, and Iran, and it addresses the Ebola epidemic.

    This bill provides $554 billion in new spending authority for the Department of Defense and our intelligence community, and it includes $64 billion for overseas contingency operations. The base funding in this measure is $500 million below the President's fiscal year 2015 budget and is just $3.3 billion above the fiscal year 2014-enacted level.

    Overall, the defense title of the omnibus appropriations package assures our commitment to the U.S. military's dominance over air, land, and sea; our commitment to our allies and partners; our commitment to our servicemembers and their families. At the same time, our committee clearly recognizes our Nation's debt crisis, and we have found areas and programs where reductions were possible without adversely impacting our Armed Forces or our defense industrial base, which is so vital to maintaining our military edge.

    We make every dollar count in our portion of this bill without harming readiness or increasing risk for our warfighters.

    National security is the priority job of the Federal Government. Our Constitution grants Congress the full range of authorities for defense of our Nation.

    With our Armed Forces facing formidable enemies around the world and standing watch everywhere to protect our freedom, this bill cannot wait, and I urge its passage today.

    In closing, I would like to thank the gentleman from Indiana, Ranking Member Pete Visclosky. He has been a valuable partner and friend. And thanks to the incredible Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, members of the committee, and our professional staff, led by Tim Prince. They have done an incredible job. We should be enormously proud of them.

    Mrs. LOWEY. Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to yield 4 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Price), the ranking member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee.

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