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Adam S.
Democrat WA 9

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  • Joint Explanatory Statement to Accompany the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014

    by Representative Adam Smith

    Posted on 2013-12-12

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    Read More about Joint Explanatory Statement to Accompany the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014

    SMITH of Washington. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 4 minutes.



    I want to thank the chairman and echo his words about how important it is that we pass this piece of legislation. It is critical to our national security and critical to supporting our troops, to make sure they get the pay and the support that they need to do the job that we all have asked them to do.

    This is never an easy process. We worked between the two of us and between our committees, and we worked with the Senate, House Republicans, bipartisan and bicameral. I am sure if any one of us were so designated as god of this piece of legislation, there are things we would change about it, but that is the nature of the legislative process. You come together, you compromise, and you put together the best product that all of you can agree on, and that is what we have done.

    {time} 1500 To not pass this at this point is to jeopardize our national security and to not support our troops.

    I think this is an excellent compromise and something that needs to be passed. I think that we would all agree that we wish we could have done this through the normal conference committee process, but the Senate has their rules, and they had difficulty getting to that point.

    I want to assure everybody that this was a fully negotiated piece of legislation. We engaged the Senate, both Republican and Democrat. Chairman McKeon and I worked very closely together. Our staffs worked very closely together. This is an excellent, important bill that needs to be passed for all of the reasons that Chairman McKeon mentioned: the steps forward it makes on sexual assault, the support it gives to our troops as they are in battle in Afghanistan in trying to protect our national security elsewhere. I really want to urge everyone to make sure that they vote for this and support this.

    I want to use my remaining time to talk a little bit about the budget resolution, or the budget conference committee, that we are going to talk about later. I completely agree with Chairman McKeon. In the spirit of what I said about the NDAA about the necessity of getting our job done, we need to pass a budget. I know it impacts all manner of different other pieces of government, but I am most familiar with what it does to the Department of Defense to not have a budget, to not have appropriations bills, to have to go from CR to CR to government shutdown threat to actual government shutdown to another government shutdown threat.

    You simply cannot function as well as you should, or as well as you would, if you had a dependable budget that said here is what you have. It will never be what all of us want, but it is better to have the predictability of having an appropriations process.

    So it is critical that we pass the National Defense Authorization Act; it is critical that we pass the budget. We have to function as a government. We all know how low our approval ratings are. I think it is great: Democrats take great comfort in the fact that Republicans aren't popular and the Republicans take great comfort in the fact that Democrats aren't popular. But all it means to me is none of us are popular.

    We need to get our job done. We have two great opportunities today to do that, to show the American public that this body functions, it works, and it will, in fact, live up to its responsibilities, and in the case of the National Defense Authorization Act, one of the most important responsibilities, and that is to provide for the common defense.

    I urge everyone to vote for this important piece of legislation and to support the budget resolution coming later today.

    With that, I reserve the balance of my time.

    Mr. McKEON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Thornberry), my friend and colleague, the vice chairman of the Armed Services Committee and chairman of the Intelligence, Emerging Threats, and Capabilities Subcommittee.

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