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Rodney F.

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  • Space Launch Liability Indemnification Extension Act

    by Representative Rodney P. Frelinghuysen

    Posted on 2014-01-15

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    FRELINGHUYSEN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.) Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Madam Speaker, I thank the chairman for yielding. I thank him for his leadership.



    First of all, it is a pleasure to rise to support this bill, and let me specifically address the defense portion, which is, indeed, our primary constitutional responsibility, a strong national defense.

    First I want to thank my ranking member, Pete Visclosky, for his help in crafting this bill. It was not an easy task, given the short deadlines, but I think we have produced a bipartisan product that meets our national defense needs.

    I thank all the committee members and our professional staff for their hard work.

    A few words about our allocation, which is a direct result of the decision we made in mid-December. The base allocation is $486.9 billion, which is $29 billion below the President's budget request and $25.7 billion below the bill we passed, the defense bill we passed in July.

    The Overseas Contingency allocation is $85.2 billion, which is $4.5 billion above the request. Even with the small increase in the Overseas Contingency allocation, which we essentially use for buy-back readiness, the subcommittee's task was formidable. We cut $24.5 billion from the administration's budget request.

    I want to assure my colleagues that not many programs were left untouched. We did our best to protect quantities of critical major weapons systems and avoid significant disruption to vital programs.

    Importantly, we gave our military leaders much badly needed predictability about future expenditures and preserved jobs in our defense industrial base.

    Most importantly too, we protected readiness. Our Constitution's first priority is to provide for a strong national defense so if the Commander in Chief needs to call our troops, they will be ready and prepared.

    Madam Speaker, the measure before us clearly re-affirms our first obligation to provide for national defense under Article One, Section 8 of the Constitution.

    I urge support for the Consolidated Appropriations Act and rise to address specifically the Defense portion that our primary constitutional obligation First, I want to thank Pete Visclosky for his help in crafting this bill. It was not an easy task, given the short deadlines, but I think together we have produced a bi-partisan product that meets our national defense needs. I thank all Committee members and our professional staff for their hard work.

    A few words about our allocation, which is a direct result of the Bipartisan Budget Act we passed in December.

    The base allocation is $486.9 billion, which is $29 billion below the President's budget request and $25.7 billion below bill the House passed in July.

    The Overseas Contingency allocation is $85.2 billion, which is $4.5 billion above the request.

    Even with the small increase in OCO allocation, (which we used to essentially buy-back readiness) the Subcommittee's task was still formidable--cutting $24.5 billion from the Administration's budget request.

    Our Committee, like others, recognizes that the Department of Defense needs to be part of the deficit solution! We consulted with civilian and military leaders within the Department and the Intelligence community, who provided input and made some ``suggestions'' for reductions to help meet our allocation.

    Let me outline just a few highlights: $15.2 billion for 8 ships, including 2 Virginia-class submarines; $5.1 billion for 29 Joint Strike Fighters, and $1.5 billion for their continued development; $3 billion for 16 (P-8) Poseidon aircraft; $1.9 billion for 21 (E/A-18) Growler electronic attack aircraft; $1.4 billion for 17 of the latest variant of the C-130--an incredible workhorse; $1.0 billion for the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account--to support the citizen-soldiers who fight side-by-side with our active duty troops; $3.0 billion reduction in Afghanistan Security Forces Funds; The agreement also places restrictions on funds to Rosonboro-export, the Russian manufacturer of the Mi-17 helicopter; In addition, the bill prohibits targeting a U.S. person under section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and bars the acquiring, monitoring, or storing of the electronic communications of a U.S. person from a public service provider under section 501 of FISA; And finally, the bill amends the December Ryan-Murray Agreement to ensure that medically retired personnel and survivor benefit recipients do not have their cost-of-living benefits (temporarily) reduced-- guaranteeing disabled veterans and surviving families receive the full benefits they are due.

    I assure my colleagues that not many programs were left untouched, but we did our best to protect quantities of critical major weapon systems and avoid significant disruptions to vital programs. Most importantly, we gave our military leaders badly-needed predictability about future expenditures and preserved jobs in our defense industrial base. And we protected readiness, our committee's first priority.

    Some contingency-related requirements--which had moved from OCO to our base bill in previous years--were shifted back to OCO in an effort to protect readiness the Subcommittee's first priority--to allow our troops to execute missions wherever and whenever they are called upon by our Commander-in-Chief.

    Mr. Chairman, our military and intelligence agencies badly need stability and predictability after years of budget uncertainty. This conference report provides that for at least a few years. At the same time, we preserve private sector jobs with a more reliable and dependable appropriations process.

    Colleagues, this is a fiscally-conservative, bi-partisan measure that protects readiness and maintains our commitment to servicemembers and their families, while meeting the budget caps established in the Bipartisan Budget Act.

    I urge its adoption, thank Mr. Visclosky and all members of the Subcommittee.

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