During his testimony to the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee in March, General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, “We are living in the most dangerous time in my lifetime.” This assessment comes from the highest ranking military official in the country. His words reaffirmed the importance of Congress’ responsibility to provide timely and sufficient funding to protect and defend the United States. This week the House passed our annual defense appropriations bill, and I am proud of the support we provide for our service members, their families, and their efforts to keep our nation safe.
Fort Worth is home not only to the Joint Reserve Base. We are home to the businesses that make critical equipment for the protection of our troops on the battlefield, and we are home to thousands of military families and retirees. The defense appropriations bill has a direct impact on the families in our district who are essential to providing for our national security. Let me give you a few examples.
As a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, I was able to include a provision in the defense bill to prevent the Air Force from moving the Air National Guard’s eight C-130 Hercules aircraft from Texas to Montana. This provision was supported by the entire Texas delegation and Governor Perry, as well as other Gulf Coast state congressional delegations and governors.
The defense bill also provides continued, strong support for the Joint Strike Fighter Program, funding the production of 29 F-35s that we are proudly building here in Fort Worth. The bill also provides $2.1 billion for Bell programs, including the purchase of 22 new V-22 Ospreys, a program that has proven to be highly effective on the battlefield.
The defense bill also puts the welfare of our service members and their families first, with a $334 million increase for Defense Health and Military Family Programs that provide care for our troops, families, spouses, and retirees. We have pledged to provide the necessary support for the military who is serving and for the veterans to whom we owe so much.
Finally, I hear from a lot of constituents who write in support of our ally Israel. We provided an additional $680 million for the tremendously successful Iron Dome missile defense program. This innovative missile defense shield has shot down hundreds of Hamas rockets from the Gaza Strip. Our funding will help Israel expand the system so it soon has the capability to shoot down rockets no matter where the threat is coming from. It has saved lives and is critical to the preservation of Israel.
As your voice in Congress, I take my responsibility to provide for our defense of our nation very seriously, including our responsibility to support our service members, veterans, and their families. I am pleased to share these steps the House took this week to do just that.
Member of Congress